Fresh peeled garlic cloves are delicious and used in most cultures throughout the world. We think this fantastic little vegetable deserves its own batch of fun facts! For example, did you know that a garlic clove is actually considered both a vegetable and an herb?
You know, this humble bulb is like the superhero of the kitchen garden. So, buckle up, and let’s dive into the fascinating world of all things garlic.
First off, garlic is not just a flavor booster; it’s a champ in the health department too. Packed with allicin, a natural compound that does wonders for your immune system, garlic is like a tiny health powerhouse.
Now, when it comes to growing garlic, it’s surprisingly easy. Picture this: a sunny spot in your garden, well-draining soil, and some cloves from your local market. Yep, that’s all you need to kickstart your garlic adventure.
Here’s the lowdown on planting: separate your garlic bulb into individual cloves, plant them about two inches deep, and give ’em some space—about four to six inches apart. Like all good relationships, garlic needs room to grow.
Now, patience is key. Garlic takes its time, and that’s a good thing. It needs a cozy winter nap, soaking up the cold like a snoozing bear. Come spring, your garlic will shoot up, giving you those lovely green garlic scapes.
Watering? It’s a balancing act. Garlic likes a sip, not a swim. So, keep the soil consistently moist, but don’t drown the poor things.
Speaking of scapes, when they start doing their curly dance, it’s time to snip them off. This encourages the plant to channel all its energy into plumping up those bulbs. Plus, bonus: you get to enjoy some tasty scape pesto. Waste not, want not!
Harvest time? Wait until the bottom leaves turn yellow and flop over. That’s the garlic’s way of saying, “I’m ready!” Dig ’em up, brush off the dirt, and let them bask in the sun for a bit. Then, find a cool, dry spot to cure them. It’s like garlic spa time.
Storing your garlic is a breeze. Just keep them in a mesh bag or a basket in a cool, dark place. Don’t trap them in the fridge; they don’t like it too chilly.
Garlic: 21 Fun Facts!
To celebrate garlic, here are 21 more interesting facts and uses:
1. Garlic is one of the oldest cultivated crops. It was fed to the builders of the Great Pyramid in Egypt in the belief that it gave them strength and endurance.
2. Garlic is said to fight off evil spirits, and keep vampires away. It is mentioned 21 times in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It is only only mentioned four times in all of Shakespeare’s body of work.
3. Garlic attracts leeches. They take 14.9 seconds to attach to a hand covered with garlic, but 44.9 seconds to suck blood from a clean one.
4. Garlic is believed to ward off heart disease, cancer, colds, and flu. The consumption of garlic lowers blood cholesterol levels, and reduces the buildup of plaque in the arteries. It is also used to treat acne, warts, and toothaches and vaginitis.
5. The majority of garlic (90%) grown in the United States comes from California. China however produces 66% of the world’s garlic.
6. April 19th is National Garlic Day. The origin of National Garlic Day is unknown, and it is not recorded in congressional or presidential proclamations.
7. There are over 300 varieties of garlic grown throughout the world.
8. The smell of garlic can be removed from the fingers by running your hands under cold water while rubbing a stainless steel object.
9. If your rose garden is being attacked by aphids, an excellent home remedy to get rid of them is to spritz the leaves and blooms with a mixture of crushed garlic and water. It is also known to repel other insects such as mosquitoes, mites and fleas.
10. Garlic is a member of the Lily family, which also includes onions, leeks and shallots.
11. The psychological term for fear of garlic is Alliumphobia.
12. In ancient Greece, brides carried bouquets of herbs and garlic, not flowers.
13. The city of Chicago is named after garlic. ‘Chicagaoua’ was the Indian word for wild garlic.
14. The most cloves of garlic eaten in one minute is 34, achieved by Deepak Sharma Bajagain of Nepal.
15. Raw, freshly minced garlic has the most health benefits. If you cannot stand the smell and must cook it, you need at least four and a half cloves to get the same effect.
16. If your garlic has sprouted, it is still usable although it has lost some of its flavor and health benefits.
17. Its pungent flavor is due to a chemical reaction that occurs when the garlic cells are broken. The flavor is most intense just after mincing.
18. When picking out garlic at the grocery store, choose firm, tight, heavy, dry bulbs.
19. Garlic applied on wounds can heal them faster. During World War I, this healing quality of garlic was used extensively by British soldiers.
20. Fall is the best time for planting garlic. It’s important to plant it four to six weeks before significant ground freezing. It likes well drained soil in a sunny location. It should be harvested when the lower part of the plant has turned brown, but there are still lots of green leaves. If in doubt, test-dig one or two plants.
21. Garlic contains 17 amino acids. Amino acids are essential to nearly every bodily function, and make up 75% of the human body. Every chemical reaction that takes place in your body depends on amino acids and the proteins that they build.
It is important to ingest essential amino acids daily because they are not stored for later use in the body like fats and starches. Read more to further your understanding of the garlic plant. If you want to get the skin off you wan to learn how to peel garlic in 20 seconds or less!