Notes from Herb Heaven

Garlic

The bulbous plant grows to about 30cm. Plant a single clove and you will end up with a whole cluster in one bulb which can be broken into segments.

Garlic needs plenty of sun and a rich, light well-drained soil. They do well in containers, as long as there is good drainage and they are well fed and watered. Separate the cloves and plant them about 5cm deep and about 15cm apart. (The pointy end should be about 2cm below the surface.) Planting time is usually in spring in cooler climates and in autumn where it is warmer. It does not like high heat and humidity, so plant in autumn in the tropics. Apply a complete plant food at planting time. Water them well in dry weather. They do not, however, want to be soggy. Pinch out any flower buds if you want plump bulbs. Stop watering the plants when the leaves turn yellow and harvest them by lifting them gently with a fork. Do not try to pull them out by the leaves. Let them dry out and then braid them together with the leaves and hang up in a cool dry area.

Garlic is used widely and in various cuisines, especially in European and Asian dishes. Crush and fry garlic in butter to add to stews, soups, casseroles, sauces and gravies. Stuff a clove or two in the cavity of a roasting chicken. Rub the inside of a salad bowl with a cut clove of garlic to flavour the salad. Steep garlic cloves in oil or vinegar to use for salad dressings and for cooking oils. The leaves can be chopped and added to salads or even stir-fried.

Garlic’s uses are many. In dog food it will help keep away ticks and fleas. Put some slightly crushed cloves in food containers to keep them free of weevils. Mix 2 bulbs of garlic with some basil or rue in about 2 cups of water and use it to spray plants for aphids.

Garlic is a medicinal wonder and has been known for years to lower cholesterol, aid digestion, reduce high blood pressure, clear chest colds, reduce fevers, eases coughs and colds, and water drunk in which 2 cloves of garlic have been steeped overnight, will help rid the body of parasites and worms. 3 to 6 crushed cloves daily is a good therapeutic dose. Garlic also helps to regulate blood sugar levels and can be helpful in late-onset diabetes. Fresh garlic rubbed on to acne and skin infections is highly effective.

Garlic is a medicinal wonder and has been known for years to lower cholesterol, aid digestion, reduce high blood pressure, clear chest colds, reduce fevers, eases coughs and colds, and water drunk in which 2 cloves of garlic have been steeped overnight, will help rid the body of parasites and worms. 3 to 6 crushed cloves daily is a good therapeutic dose. Garlic also helps to regulate blood sugar levels and can be helpful in late-onset diabetes. Fresh garlic rubbed on to acne and skin infections is highly effective.

It has also been know to cure alopecia with the rubbing of raw garlic on the scalp. When eating high doses of fresh raw garlic it is useful to eat parsley to mask the smell!

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Turkish Aubergine Paté

2 large aubergines (eggplants) 
4 TBS olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1 clove of garlic, crushed
salt and pepper

Score the aubergine skins lightly with a knife.
Put them on a baking tray in a moderate oven
– 180°C for about an hour or when completely soft. 
When they are cooled, cut them in half 
and scoop out the pulp. 

Mash them in a bowl until they are quite smooth. 
Beat the oil in very gradually, 
then add the lemon juice, garlic and seasoning.

Pile into a serving dish and enjoy 
on toast or bread or with crudités.

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