Garlic has been used as a food and medicine by many cultures for thousands of years. Herbalists have long argued that garlic can fight colds and sore throats. Contemporary studies have found that garlic has antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties. It is also said to help prevent heart disease and cancer due to it's properties as an antioxidant.
Garlic is stored at room temperature and at low humidity. Ideally, garlic would be stored around 65 degrees. Garlic stays good longer when the tops remain attached.
My favorite way to prepare garlic is to roast it. To try, simply cut off the bottom of the whole head of garlic, place the cut side down on an oiled baking sheet, and roast it in the oven until tender. This often works out well if you are using the oven anyway. When the garlic cools, you can use it for anything. It is a thickening agent for your salad dressings, a rub for your poultry, or, as I often do, a butter for your bread.
Spanish Garlic Soup
10 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
5 cups of broth
1 cup of dry sherry
¼ cup of olive oil
French bread, sliced and toasted
Grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
- Sauté the garlic in the olive oil until it turns golden.
- Heat the beef broth with sherry. When the broth reaches the boiling point, add garlic and the olive oil.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste; then simmer for about 30 minutes.
- Strain out the garlic and reheat.
- Sprinkle toasted French bread slices generously with Parmesan cheese, then place them in a 425°F (220°C) oven for about 3-4 minutes.
- Put the hot toast in the bottom of soup dishes; then pour the soup over top.
Posted by Laurie
@ 02:46 PM EDT
Garlic falls into the allium, or onion genius. Garlic scapes, also known as spears, stems, or tops, are immature garlic flowers. Raw, garlic and garlic scapes are a good source of all the B vitamins as well as vitamin C, prosperous, calcium, iron, and zinc.
Scapes store well in the refrigerator but do begin to loose their fluids after a few days. To put your scapes into long term storage, you can pickle them. Simply chop the scapes into half-inch long sections and layer in a canning jar with salt. Specifically, in a pint jar, drop in about one half inch of chopped scapes, then sprinkle over with one table spoon of salt, and repeat until full. Unsealed, your scapes will stay good for two years in a refrigerator. You may want to seal the jar by boiling if you intent to shelve the scapes.
You can use scapes like garlic bulbs if you like. A quick rinse and fast mince and they'll be ready to make your stir fry savory. You can also steam or boil the slender vegetables to eat like noodles in your dish. In some places around the Internet, I have found that people enjoy making a scape pesto by pureeing scapes with a few other ingredients (it's easy if you have a food processor): 1/4 lb or about 7 scapes, 1/2 cup of olive oil, 1/2 to 1 cup Parmesan cheese, 3 Tbsp lemon or lime juice, and 1/3 cups walnuts.
Garlic, like other biological entities, has reproduction as one of it's principal aims in existence. Each garlic plant has two opportunities to engage reproductively. One is to grow beautiful, purple flowers, cast pollen, and exchange genetic material with other plants. The other is to grow a head (comprised of cloves) that grows into a new plant in the next season. We pull garlic scapes (the forming flower) in order to make the garlic plant concentrate on growing the best possible head rather than letting it divide it's attention on two reproductive outlets.
What do you do with scapes? Pam Cameron, one of your fellow CSA members, wrote that she "added them in their full length to the grill (charcoal purist) with asparagus and red peppers - lightly coated in olive oil. They showed off their beautiful curly form against their straight-laced neighbors - quite a nice look."
They're coming one more time this summer! I've already talked about preservation and pesto (if you need a reminder, let me know). If you're more excited to use them fresh, perhaps you'll be interested to try this: Garlic Wok.
- Chop seven or eight scapes finely and steam (or boil) scapes until tender.
- Cube and saute one package of tempe (or tofu) in sesame oil.
- Cook two cups of rice.
- Mix all three ingredients.
- Chop one or two heirloom tomatoes to top the dish.
Posted by Laurie
@ 10:48 AM EDT