Hello there. Today, I’m one of the happiest little backyard farmers in the world. I dug up my first ever garlic plant. I was quite giddy to harvest my twenty heads of garlic and braid them to hang in the kitchen. Did you know that one clove turns into an entire bulb? I’m embarrassed to say that I did not! I planted the cloves last fall and for the past few weeks, we have been enjoying the garlic scapes and young leaves by chopping them up in salads, eating them in omelets, roasts, and even pickling some. Taking off the scapes lets the plant focus its energy on growing the garlic head. When the bottom leaves become yellow and start to dry up a bit, according to my friend Christy (who I actually got the cloves from), it is ready to dig up.
I don’t really know why the garlic is called the “Stinking Rose” but I like the name. The rose flower symbolizes love and beauty therefore I like to think of the garlic or the ”Stinking Rose” to mean the same when used as an ingredient in cooking. There are many garlic fanatics in the world and many festivals are dedicated to it. The biggest one is the Gilroy Garlic Festival in California. Here is a list of the top ten garlic festivals in the world if you’re curious. I was surprised to find that the garlic wasn’t a really popular ingredient in home cooking until the 1940′s in the United States but upon further research it made more sense to me. You see the Italians moved to the states and established neighborhoods in major cities such as New York and Chicago in the early 1900′s. By the twenties, numerous Italian restaurants (whose dishes used a lot of garlic), meat shops, and bakeries were set up. The people loved what the tasted and Italian food became the most popular “ethnic” cuisine in the country then and now.
I’m very excited to use my garlic in a lot of dishes. One thing that I regret is not having planted more of them. I checked out my favorite plant catalog today (Seed Savers) and they have about dozen garlic plants to choose from. I’m definitely getting some purple ones, a spicy one called Georgian Fire, and some Elephant garlic (not a true garlic but a type of leek). Have you ever planted garlic before? Any favorite garlicky dishes? There’s a restaurant in San Francisco’s North Beach (Italian) neighborhood called “The Stinking Rose”. Check out their mouth watering menu! Oh and if you were wondering, I found that the best way to get rid of garlic breath is to suck on some lemons. Cheers!
Cleaned and Braided