Garlic is a common vegetable that belongs to the family of onions and it’s similar to other onions in taste and culinary use. It comes from the Middle East and is now grown locally and commercially around the world, with most of the commercial production coming from China.
It’s widely known as a vegetable that has many great health benefit and that helps with seasonal illnesses. It’s also a staple of most cuisines, especially the ones that are focused on spicy food.
- It’s been used as natural cure in ancient Egypt
- It can be used make glue
- It can clean up your skin
It may be surprising but when it’s fresh garlic shouldn’t have a strong smell. If a bulb of garlic has a particularly strong odor that’s because it’s starting to rot inside and it’s been out for far too long. That will be the best indicator not to buy it.
It’s also a good idea to squeeze the bulb and to make sure it’s full and firm because that’s how it should feel if it’s a young bulb, that’s still fresh.
Production & Farming in Texas
Garlic doesn’t produce seeds which means that it’s planted from the cloves that it produces. Those are the bulbs that produce the whole plant of garlic. In Texas it’s a perennial plant meaning that it will take one planting to produce garlic for two years.
It should be planted in late fall so that you can harvest it in season and have it available for purchase when it’s expected and most needed. Garlic is also highly resilient to frost and a cold winter could actually do it good after it was planted and takes root, which is what happens in November.
The crop will be fully mature in June. Most companies sell the cloves, known wrongly as seeds or sets, simply as garlic sets, but there are quite a few of different varieties to take into account when choosing what to grow. In Texas the most common ones are: Creole like Early Louisiana and White Mexican, and Italian like Late or Pink.
If the soil is suitable for onions, it will be suitable for garlic as well. It’s shallow rooted and most work will be done one removing weeds and keeping the soil well fertilized.
Garlic is a natural pesticides and what repeals the insects is what makes it spicy. However, there are still some pesticides that are often used on it. The pesticides usually don’t stay on the plant for a long time.
The plant has originated in the Middle East, and it can now be grown everywhere in the US. The commercial growth should best be done in climate zones 4-9. It requires dry soil and a lot of sunlight and Texas is a perfect place for both of those.
It is a part of almost every cuisine and especially so in the Middle East and Asia where it’s a used much more commonly than in Europe and the US. There it’s also used in production of oil.
Garlics are usually packed in batches or in strings. They come in packages of 250, 500, and 1.000 grams. In some cases, they are packed to fit a number of them in a string – most commonly two, three or four depending on the size.
When it comes to long range transport, the garlic is packed in boxes or even in sacks. They are usually up to 25 kg in net weight. In the US they are also sometimes packed in cardboard boxes up to 13.5 kg in weight.
There are countless ways to add garlic to your diet and there are even cultures that eat it raw. If that’s no for you, and it’s not for most, you should start with preparing the garlic for cooking. Break the garlic up in cloves and push it on a cutting board in order to separate them. It will have up to 12 cloves per bulb.
Make cuts with a sharp knife and it’s best if you do it lengthwise, flip the garlic over and do it again. After that you can chop it into fine pieces and add it to any dish that you might make.
There are only a few simple rules as to how to store garlic. It should be done in place that’s dry and dark. Store it in room temperature but make sure that it’s covered so that there’s no light shining on to it. For the most part, garlics are stored in pantries.
Garlic isn’t a dish on its own but an addition to meals and the recipes very much depend on what you’re making in the first place. Here are a few simple tips on how to do it.
-For the best results you should cut the garlic up in advance and leave it in a dry and cold room for 15 minutes so that it can compound before cooking
-Where ever you see the recipe specifying that you should cut the garlic, you should try mashing it instead because it has the same effect with being smoother and easier to use.
-A lemon wedge is the best way to get rid of the garlic smell on your hands after cooking.
While garlic is a low-calorie food, it’s not particularly rich in the daily nutrients you need. But as per the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate guidelines, it is on the list of healthy ingredients you can include in your diet.
Nutritionally speaking, garlic is most useful as a spice or as a way to bring out the flavors of other healthy foods, like vegetables. The following nutrition facts for garlic from the United States Department of Agriculture are based on estimates of a 1-teaspoon serving.
Research primarily supports garlic’s potential antibacterial benefits, as well as its ability to help control cholesterol-causing lipids in the blood. Garlic also has antioxidants, which may help prevent free radicals that contribute to chronic illnesses, such as heart disease and cancer.
Some of the most promising research on garlic’s health benefits pertains to cholesterol and high blood pressure. But the research on these effects is limited. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health describes conflicting studies on the effects of garlic supplements on cholesterol. In some small studies, garlic supplements were shown to lower blood cholesterol within three months. In other studies, though, garlic had no effects on cholesterol whatsoever.
When Are Garlic in Season in Texas?
One of the most salient benefits to eating seasonally is that you are effectively reducing your carbon footprint and supporting a more geographically sustainable food economy. We are rarely encouraged to think about the physical lengths our food travels before arriving on the market shelves. And all of this travel comes with a hefty environmental cost that is concealed from the consumer’s eye. Check other fruit and veg that’s in season in Texas.