Friday, June 5, 2009

Garlic: Great Food, Great Medicine

The healing powers of garlic make this super herb well worth growing. It is as at home in the kitchen as it is in the medicine cabinet.

Garlic is easy to grow- plant in full sun from early fall to early spring, depending upon your USDA hardiness zone. Plant cloves about 1 ½” deep, and about 4” apart. Cutting off the flower heads is said to make the bulbs larger. We leave some cloves in the ground and are working on perennial garlic bed as an experiment.

For flavoring dishes, garlic can’t be beat. We cook some in with our mashed potatoes, yum. Add a few cloves to olive oil to make wonderful garlic oil for using in salad etc. You can also add some to vinegar. Some people like to take the clove out after the flavor is to their liking. We leave the cloves right in.

Garlic powder can be made by grinding dried cloves; mix with a little salt and you have garlic salt. Garlic cloves can be inserted into meat and chicken before roasting. Try rubbing a clove in a salad bowl before preparing a salad for a nice flavor. The Good-for-You Garlic Cookbook has over 125 garlic recipes, including breads.

For live stock, garlic is used for fevers, worms, ticks, lice and more. It can, however, change the flavor of milk in cows and goats. It is said to be a good blood cleanser and good for lung and digestion problems.

For people, garlic has an almost endless list of benefits. It is said to destroy some types of cancer, lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure and is good for digestion. Some studies say it can help lower blood sugar levels. Eating garlic daily can help protect against colds and build up the immune system. Garlic is a good insect repellent. I know the more garlic we eat in the spring, the less the bugs bother us all summer. Garlic can help with toothaches, diarrhea, earaches, and expel worms.

In the garden, garlic helps deter Japanese beetles, weevil, aphids and fruit tree borer, especially in peaches. Planted near roses it helps prevent black spot.

With so many uses, it is easy to see why garlic is so well loved, and we haven’t even touched upon the vampires.