I have always loved writing, and now that I am retired I thought I would be able to find time to write, but it seems that I still manage to fill my days with activities. I have however found that while I travel, I enjoy writing about some of the interesting things we do. I hope you enjoy reading of our adventures as much as I like writing about them.
Thursday, August 22, 2019
Garlic Ready to go
Garlic is a member of the onion family
(Which I do not like), but I have come to love garlic and use it in
much of my cooking. It is important in Portuguese and Spanish cooking
and is essential to good Italian cooking. It is delicious in a simple
Italian pasta dish and and becomes a major item in some of my recipes
including a “Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic”. My kitchen always
has a couple of garlic heads ready to be added to recipes.
I tried to grow my own garlic, but
found it was expensive and really not worth the effort, especially
since I have found a reliable source of excellent locally grown
garlic. My friend Joanie has a niece who grows garlic for sale on her
farm in Gore. On a sunny day this week I was invited down to visit
the farm and take part in the garlic harvest and tour the farm. The
farm has chickens (egg birds and meat birds), Turkeys, pigs and sheep
as well as horses, but I was there to see the garlic harvest.
After Joanie's niece Tina gave me an
interesting tour of the farm, I was invited to join in with
processing the garlic which was ready to be harvested. Comfortable
folding chairs and a picnic table were set up under a large sun
shelter, and piles of just pulled garlic were waiting to be sorted,
clipped, cleaned and strung in batches of 50 heads. The weather had
been dry, so bunches of ripe garlic was simply pulled from the ground
and carried to the picnic table. They were then sorted; a new
experiment, where the genetics of the crop were being explored and
so the number of cloves were sorted, three, four, five or six with
the rare two or seven put in separate piles. At planting time they
will be planted in separate sections of the garden to see if five
clove garlic will produce more five clove heads next year.
I did all these!
I discovered that four clove heads was
the “Normal”and these were being processed for sale. The roots
were snipped off and the plants were stacked in piles to be cleaned.
Coming from the ground the garlic is of course dirty, and people do
not like to buy dirty garlic, so you need to strip off a couple of
layers of the outer skins. This is done by finding the first green
shoot up the stalk and stripping it down. This removes one or two
layers of the white papery skin of the garlic, and if done carefully,
leaves a lovely clean white head of garlic. I discovered quickly
that the process was not hard; peel the green leaf down and pull the
attached layers off. Sometimes you have to rub gently to remove some
of the dirty outer layers, and usually enough of the papery outer
garlic coating remains to protect the head. The now clean white
garlic are piled together. The tops are now clipped off leaving a
stem of about six inches. These finished heads are then threaded
together with a large needle and strung into bunches of 50 heads
which are then hung in the barn to dry before being sold to the
hungry public for use in their recipes.
I have always just taken delicious
garlic for granted, and I have sampled Tina's local product last
The crew hard at work
so I knew how good it was, and this visit to the farm and
getting involved with the process have made me more aware of how
garlic is grown, harvested and processed. I spent an interesting
afternoon helping with this work and after cleaning a couple of
hundred (only a guess . . . ) head of garlic I was ready to head home
with a little threaded bunch of garlic to be hung in my basement to
dry while I waited for my main order of a couple of pounds of fresh
Nova Scotia garlic to be ready to enhance my cooking.
A big thank you to Tina and her family
for educating me to the world of garlic. One of Tina's chickens came
home with me to wait in the freezer for the garlic to be dry and I
think I will do another 40 clove chicken.