Friday, March 23, 2012

Garlic lines Spring Gardens... #GardenCuizine #gardenchat

Garlic for Health

Spring has sprung in South Jersey! Most people associate peas and asparagus as the harbingers of spring, but biennial and perennial herbs like parsley, thyme and rosemary along with fall planted bulbs, like garlic, get well established long before peas or asparagus even begin poking up from the earth. This season brings no exception; garden herbs and garlic are growing strong, while spring peas and asparagus are just now beginning to emerge.

There are a few distinct kinds of garlic, namely hardneck and softneck varieties. Our Italian hardneck garlic Garlic Rossa di Sulmona was special ordered direct from Italy. We can't wait to cook with and taste it. We're also growing Certified Organic Garlic Early Italian White Softneck. All garlic was planted with other kinds of bulbs last fall. 

The emerging green growing shoots sprouted up back in November. The eager growth went dormant throughout the winter months (if you want to call this winter a winter). Now, come Spring, as you can see in the photo above, the garlic is growing well! 

Cooking with Garlic
At this stage, the green growing stems can be snipped and added to foods like you would use scallion tops. During the plants maturity, hardneck varieties will send up edible scapes that bloom into flowers. When the scapes appear, I'll try to post a photo to show you what they look like. Scapes add a gourmet touch to foods.

Harvesting Garlic
Garlic becomes ready to dig up and harvest when most of the greens have died back later in the season. Garlic is best harvested after a few weeks of dry weather, according to Jodi Ferguson - organic gardener who wrote an article about growing garlic for Heirloom Gardener magazine.

Garlic for Health
Garlic is associated with health claims from being antibacterial, good for the heart, lowering cholesterol, reducing blood pressure - to reducing the number of tick bites. With the exception of having antimicrobial properties, science-based evidence is limited or conflicting on most of the other claims.

Garlic is full of nutrients, many that you wouldn’t expect: Vitamin C, Calcium and Vitamin B6.
You may have heard of garlic’s potent antioxidant and active component, Allicin. Allicin has antimicrobial properties that inhibit a wide range of bacteria. 

Fresh garlic has the most allicin vs pre-minced garlic in jars, which may be more important than convenience.
For maximum Allicin benefits, allow fresh
chopped garlic to "rest" for 10 minutes before cooking.
GardenCuizine Garlic Nutrition: calculated from USDA Nutrient data  
3 cloves (9g) = 13 calories, 0 calories from fat, saturated fat 0, cholesterol 0, dietary Fiber .2g (1%DV), Protein .6g (1%DV), Vitamin C 2.8mg (5%DV), Vitamin B6 .1mg (6%DV), Calcium 16mg (2%DV), Manganese .2mg (8%DV), Selenium 1.3mcg (2%DV)

Percent Daily Values (%DV) are for adults or children age 4 or older, and are based on a 2,000 calorie reference diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower based on your individual needs.

Health note: garlic may interfere with some drugs and is not recommended to be taken in excess or supplement form if taking anticoagulants, like Warfarin. Best to check with your doctor.

Related Links
Growing Garlic (Allium sativum)
You can find garlic bulbs from many garden suppliers. Our garlic was ordered online from
Photo Copyright (C) 2012 Wind. All rights reserved.

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