Mmmmm……Garlic.

Garlic (Allium sativum). Nature’s superfood.

Nearly 3000 years ago, an Egyptian doctor wrote in the Ebers Papyrus that garlic could cure twenty-four common ailments. Tumors. Heart disease. Lack of stamina. Sexual dysfunction. Feel weak? Eat garlic. A long way to walk? Eat garlic. Mosquito problems? Eat garlic. Bladder control issues? Eat garlic. Asthma? You guessed it: eat garlic.

Tutankhamen was buried with cloves of garlic at his side. The Greeks made offerings of garlic to the goddess Hecate. Olympic athletes were fed garlic prior to competitions. Hippocrates reportedly used garlic vapors to treat cervical cancer. Sanskrit medical treatise, such as the Charaka Samhita and the Navanitaka promised that garlic would work as an aphrodisiac, cure illness and promote a long life. The Ayurvedic medical system also encouraged the use of garlic. The Chinese and the Jains did not use garlic as a food. Garlic was medicine. In Medieval Europe garlic offered protections against the plague and vampires.

And it tastes good. Very good. AND, it can keep the mother-in-law and other unwelcome relatives out of your hair. If you eat enough of it.

For as long as humans have written about food, they have never failed to mention garlic. This is special stuff.

Garlic probably originated in Central Asia and has been cultivated since Neolithic times. It is a member of the lily family and is closely related to onions, shallots, leaks and chives. The modern word garlic possibly comes from Old English word garleac, or “spear leek”. The word may also have older Angle and/or Saxon origins: gar, meaning spear and lac meaning plant.

Garlic prefers rich, sandy, slightly moist soil and ample sunlight. The leaves tend to be long, narrow and flat. The bulb is made up of numerous bulbets or cloves (the seed) which are themselves grouped together and encased in a very thin, white, paper-like skin. The flowers of the garlic plant appear in an umbel shape at the end of the stalk rising direct from the bulb and are whitish, grouped together in a globular head, or umbel.

Also known as the “stinking rose,” garlic, when crushed releases allinaise, an enzyme that changes amino acids in the garlic to allicin, a molecule containing sulphur. It is that allicin that produces the wonderfully pungent garlic smell that makes your mouth water and your skin stink. Not to mention…ahhh….garlic breath. And that allicin is known to kill upwards of twenty-tree types of bacteria!

It’s the process that creates that lovely stench that makes garlic the wonder that it is.
So DIG IN!

On this site, you’ll find out how to:
• Select the appropriate garlic varieties
• Determine an appropriate location for your garlic bed
• Prepare a bed for planting
• Care for garlic until they mature
• Control pests and diseases
• Harvest and store your garlic
• Learn about a few of the more interesting aspects of garlic, its history and its amazing health properties.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

tv April 19, 2010 at 10:19 pm

Are chive bulbs edible? Can it be used as a garlic?

Also, are garlic tops (like the chives) edible as chives?
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No, on the leaf stems and flowers are edible, not the chive bulbs.
As far as garlic tops go, you are probably thinking of garlic scapes. The scape is like the stalk that grows out of the bulb and is a popular food chefs love. It’s not shaped like the garlic leaves. Instead, the scape curves. Here’s an article from Mother Earth News on Garlic Scapes.

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