Guest Author - Robin Rounds Whittemore
Garlic has been around for a long time. It has been around so long that it has even been mentioned in the Bible. It is in the book of Numbers, verse 11:5 to be exact.
The Latin name for garlic is allium sativum. It means cultivated onion. Garlic is in the same family as onions and leeks. Another name that garlic has been called is the stinking rose.
One famous legend of garlic is the power it has to ward off vampires. In many books and movies, garlic has long been thought to protect someone from a vampire attack. You can be protected if you hang bulbs of garlic in front of the house, on your bedpost, or even around your neck.
Driving through Hershey, Pennsylvania, the saying is true, you can smell the chocolate a mile away. Roll down your window and inhale the fragrant aroma. The same holds true for the town of Gilroy, California, but it is not chocolate that you smell, it is garlic. The garlic "aroma" is most prevalent May though August during harvest season. The aroma is not unpleasant, though it is doubtful that you would want to rush out and get a bottle of garlic fragrance oil to spritz on.
Gilroy holds the annual Gilroy Garlic Festival each year. According to the GGF media relations, you can stop anywhere in Gilroy and be within 300 yards of some organization that has benefited from GGF proceeds. In 2008, the annual Gilroy Garlic Festival is expected to reach the $8 million mark in monies provided to local charities by the annual force of 4,000 volunteers who operate the Festival.
Like other herbs, you can grow your own garlic. Each clove of garlic is a seed. Each seed produces one plant. That plant will have a single bulb, which will produce more cloves, therefore; more seeds. The plant needs plenty of sun and soil that is moist.
When you plant the garlic, the pointed end should be up. It will still grow if the pointed end is facing downward in the soil. The shoot will just have to twist around to come up out of the soil.
When it comes to cooking, there is nothing like the smell of minced or chopped garlic simmering in butter or olive oil. The robust smell that permeates from the kitchen gets your mouth watering for a hearty meal.
Recipe for Garlic Butter
1 cup butter – salted or un-salted (not margarine)
5 garlic cloves – minced or chopped
2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning mix
1) Melt butter in small saucepan. Use medium heat to make sure the butter is not burned. Do not use the medium-high or high settings.
2) Add garlic cloves and stir at least 4 times in a one minute time span.
3) Stir in the 2 teaspoons of seasoning until well coated with the butter mixture.
Place in a jar or other container for future use. This can also be given as a gift from your kitchen.