Newest Review: ... Iron, Magnesium, Fibre, Zinc, Potassium, Phosphorus, Calcium, Manganese etc. Garlic has a really pungent smell and taste, similar to th... more
The most versatile of all herbs
Member Name: Ninski1
Advantages: Easy to grow, use and cook with
Disadvantages: Smelly breath
Allium sativum, commonly known as garlic, is a species in the onion genus, Allium. Its close relatives include the onion, shallot, leek, chive and rakkyo. With a history of human use of over 6,000 years, garlic is native to central Asia, and has long been a staple in the Mediterranean region, as well as a frequent seasoning in Asia, Africa, and Europe. It was known to Ancient Egyptians, and has been used for both culinary and medicinal purposes.
The ancestry of cultivated garlic is not definitively established. According to Zohary and Hopf, "A difficulty in the identification of its wild progenitor is the sterility of the cultivars", though it is thought to be descendent from the species Allium longicuspis, which grows wild in central and southwestern Asia. Allium sativum grows in the wild in areas where it has become naturalised. The "wild garlic", "crow garlic", and "field garlic" of Britain are members of the species Allium ursinum, Allium vineale, and Allium oleraceum, respectively. In North America, Allium vineale (known as "wild garlic" or "crow garlic") and Allium canadense, known as "meadow garlic" or "wild garlic" and "wild onion", are common weeds in fields. One of the best-known "garlics", the so-called elephant garlic, is actually a wild leek (Allium ampeloprasum), and not a true garlic. Single clove garlic (also called pearl or solo garlic) originated in the Yunnan province of China.
Garlic is easy to grow and can be grown year-round in mild climates. While sexual propagation of garlic is indeed possible, nearly all of the garlic in cultivation is propagated asexually, by planting individual cloves in the ground. In cold climates, cloves are planted in the fall, about six weeks before the soil freezes, and harvested in late spring. Garlic plants are usually very hardy, and are not attacked by many pests or diseases. Garlic plants are said to repel rabbits and moles. Two of the major pathogens that attack garlic are nematodes and white rot disease, which remain in the soil indefinitely after the ground has become infected. Garlic also can suffer from pink root, a typically nonfatal disease that stunts the roots and turns them pink or red.
Garlic plants can be grown closely together, leaving enough space for the bulbs to mature, and are easily grown in containers of sufficient depth. When selecting garlic for planting, it is important to pick large heads from which to separate cloves. Large cloves, along with proper spacing in the planting bed, will also improve head size. Garlic plants prefer to grow in a soil with a high organic material content, but are capable of growing in a wide range of soil conditions and pH levels.
I have recently started growing garlic myself, as I seem to use it in practically every dish I make, I got a bulb and spilt it up and put them into pots, 3 bulbs per pot, and hey presto a few weeks later the garlic sprouted, I am very pleased that my first attempt at growing garlic was a success.
I keep my garlic in a special shaped garlic terracotta pot, that has a few holes in it to allow it to breathe. I have also recently discover roasted garlic that adds a great roasted flavour to dishes such as cauliflower cheese, or home made garlic bread. It does tend to smell quite pungent though and every time I open my kitchen cupboard I am greeted with the smell.
I have a number of recipes that I use garlic in, some where the garlic is used as a subtle flavour to enhance or compliment other flavours and some where it is the star of the show. It seems to go with just about most things. The simplest recipe I use garlic in is to boil up some pasta, any sort, and then once the pasta has been drained I add a few cloves of garlic, some fresh red chilli and some parsley or coriander, with a glug of good quality olive oil, mix it altogether and serve warm with a crispy green salad.
I could go on and on about garlic, it is supposed to be good for keeping your heart healthy, which is a good thing and even though it makes you have garlic breath, I will not stop eating it, my husband and 2 year old son also love garlic, with my son particularly fond of garlic bread and the simple pasta supper, he is also quite intrigued by the garlic crusher. As I said I use garlic a lot, I also tend to mainly crush it, though I sometimes chop it into small slithers or just rub it on toast.
Overall I would recommend using and growing garlic to others, it easy to cultivate, very versatile and wards off vampires, so what's not to like unless you are one.
Summary: Versatile herb that wards off vampires