Allow me a rant, just a little one…
Big inhalation now…so I can feel the rant build up a little.
Garlic. I’ve mentioned it a little before, but have restrained myself in the past, because…it gets me a little het up. (Garlic and canned tomatoes, but I’ll save that one for another post.)
Today though, I’m letting the garlic flag fly…
I love cooking, and I love using garlic in my cooking, and yet in recent times, there haven’t been too many dishes with even the hint of garlic in them. Why? Because I don’t want my garlic to come from China. Nor Mexico, or Argentina and these are the countries that we frequently import our garlic from here in Australia. I have nothing against these countries, I just really want to eat Australian garlic. From my readings, it seems that the majority of our imported garlic is from China where every bulb is rayed, sprayed and then resprayed against ‘critters’ coming in at quarantine. (Strict quarantine laws in Australia, require many products to be treated with methyl bromide.) That is a lot of handling for a little bulb, that by the time it gets to the supermarket shelf it’s old, wrinkled, soft, and bless its little heart ready to try and shoot. Tasteless and disappointing.
Where have all the different varieties gone? Where have our garlic options gone?
Garlic happily sits in so many flavoursome dishes. It brings a tasty depth, that few other vegetables can compete with in the same way.
I’m getting garlic envy from all the lovely blogs I have seen with tantalizing pictures of their freshly harvested garlic. I recently bought some “spring garlic” or green garlic from the farmers markets and it was divine. Stalks and all, a little bit more subtle than when its has been dried, but truly delicious and locally produced. Every meal that those little green stalks and bulbs went in to was treated as it should. With gratitude and thanks, and more than a little smacking of lips. It makes a meal. (Maybe wouldn’t make a cake…but I wasn’t going for the garlic chocolate cake combo anyway.)
Garlic is planted in the cooler months and harvested in the hotter months, approximately 17-25 weeks after planting. If you have any space at all, I highly recommend giving growing your own a go. I don’t have any. I tried doing it in pots and it just wasn’t in the right position for growing. So now I just get to look longingly at others growing it and put my nose in the air in a huff when I see the sad little excuses for garlic for sale in the supermarket. That is, until I see some locally grown garlic for sale and then will be pouncing on it with gusto.
So tell me, where does your garlic come from? What types can you get? Do you grow it? Do you find it tricky to grow? I would love to hear your garlicky stories…
More information on growing garlic here.