I’m an unashamed ‘Garlicoholic’ and if you love garlic as much as I do, you may be surprised at some of the incredibly useful ways you can use this ancient herb:
- In your kitchen – for its culinary uses;
- For health – and its medicinal benefits; plus
- In your garden – to help with pest & disease management!
So first up:
1. In Your Kitchen …
My Favourite Garlic Tips
- If you want to avoid ‘garlic breath’ eat a few leaves of any chlorophyll rich herb like fresh mint, parsley or basil afterwards.
- When using garlic in recipes, 1 clove = 1 teaspoon chopped fresh garlic or ½ teaspoon minced fresh garlic.
- The longer you cook garlic, the milder and sweeter the flavour.
- To release the skin without fiddly peeling, lay a clove flat on a board, slice off the root and place under the blade of a wide knife. Press down hard over the top and the skin will pop off.
How to Mince Garlic – Tips to Crush, Chop & Dice Garlic Cloves
- Adding garlic early in a recipe will result in a milder flavour than adding it towards the end.
- In recipes, don’t be tempted to increase the quantity, as garlic can overpower other flavours (especially if it’s home grown).
- Know how strong your garlic is – until you’ve tried using it, I suggest less is more. You can always add, but can’t take away!
- Use garlic leaves the same as you would chives – snip into stir fries, salads & egg dishes.
- Add garlic to oil or vinegar to flavour when adding to dishes or making a dressing. However, make fresh and refrigerate, use or freeze your garlic oil within 10 days to avoid the growth of harmful microorganisms.
- Add garlic to flavour your meat – it also helps you digest it.
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Favourite Garlic Recipes
- Garlic & Herb Butter – To 4 tblspns butter, add 1 minced clove garlic; 2 tspns chopped fresh (or dried) herbs & a sprinkle of salt. Mix well & spread on bread or pizza bases, melt on vegetables or toss through pasta.
- Yummy Garlic Recipes – including Baked Garlic & Eggplant Salad; Garlic Custard; Garlic Prawns & Ayurvedic Garlic Curry + many more.
Garlic Mashed Potatoes (You can reduce the butter to your taste)
2. Garlic Tips for Health Benefits
According to Isabell Shipard’s wonderful herb book:
“Garlic is … a powerful antibiotic … boosts immunity … has been dubbed the anti-cancer food … an anti-inflammatory … contains powerful antioxidants that help remove free radicals with their destructive habits and ageing effects on the body …”
There is so much more to garlic and I thoroughly recommend you read ‘How Can I Use Herbs in My Daily Life?‘ to learn and apply how to use it to boost your health and well-being, as well as 500 other herbs.
- Garlic has been widely used for health benefits since Egyptian times and scientific research continues to confirm its many applications for building immunity, anti-cancer properties, lowering cholesterol and too many more to mention. It is widely used as a natural alternative for many diseases with fewer side effects than drugs.
CLICK BELOW for books on how to grow and cook with garlic
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- Head or chest congestion – To make an inhalant, chop 2 garlic cloves and add to a small bowl with 2 cups boiling water and 1 tblspn apple cider vinegar. Stir vigorously for 10 seconds then cover your head with a towel and inhale the vapours over the bowl.
- Garlic Health Recipes – make a cold extract, tincture and juice.
“The medicinal value of garlic is no longer an ancient Chinese secret.” – Professor David Mirelman, Weizmann Institute of Science
- Garlic Tea Immune Enhancer: A well-known immune system strengthener, garlic shines as an antibacterial and antiviral herb for fighting colds, coughs and the flu. Drinking fresh garlic tea sweetened with a little raw honey is one of the best ways to take advantage of garlic’s healing properties to heal what ails you. To make: Peel 2-3 cloves of fresh garlic and lightly crush them with the side of a wide knife blade. Add them to 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for another 15 minutes. Strain the garlic and allow the tea to cool to mouth temperature. Add raw honey, a tiny pinch of cayenne pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. Drink as much as needed.
Garlic Health Benefits
3. Garlic Tips for Your Garden
For any pest or disease problem in the garden, first and foremost, I believe in looking at the source of the problem and working with nature to avoid it, rather than reaching for a quick fix spray remedy – even if it IS organic. There are consequences for every action and whilst recipes and sprays abound in books and the internet, it’s wise to understand what you are dealing with first.
I’ve only ever had to use an organic spray very sparingly on a few occasions in my garden – as a last resort strategy to avoid losing a crop. For the most part, I’ve found if I have healthy soil, I don’t have major pest or disease issues.
- Companion Plant: The primary way I use garlic in my garden is as a beneficial companion plant (with a few exceptions including peas and beans). Interplanting it with other crops can be a useful pest management strategy. It can help deter both air and soil-borne pests including leaf eaters, spider mites and fruit flies.
- Crops: The smell of garlic and other allium family members helps confuse pests like carrot flies and white cabbage butterflies by masking the smell of host plants where the mummies want to lay their eggs for their little darlings to hatch out and eat. So, interplant your carrots and brassica crops between garlic, leeks, onions or chives to use this strategy. Interplant with raspberry canes for protection from grubs.
- Trees: Try planting garlic around the base of peach/nectarine trees to reduce curly leaf infection and around roses to improve fragrance and growth. Planted around trees, garlic can deter borers, mites and weevils and is a much safer alternative to harmful chemicals.
The active ingredients in garlic include complex organic sulphides and garlic’s antimicrobial properties means it can be effective against a range of pests and diseases particularly as a fungicide.
- Possum Repellent – Garlic spray (works on smell & taste): Add 2 tablespoons freshly crushed garlic to 1 litre of hot water (or add 2 tablespoons freshly crushed hot chilli). Allow to stand overnight. Strain. Spray on foliage. Remember sprays are best used in the cool of the day to avoid burning your plants and will only last a few days.
- Treat Powdery Mildew: Garlic contains high levels of sulphur, an effective fungicide. A few crushed cloves in water (and strained) can be used to make a homemade spray. For effective control, timing is important. Spray at the first sign of powdery mildew and repeat every week or two until it is under control. Some squash and melon varieties may be sensitive to garlic so an alternative is to spray upper leaves and undersides weekly with a solution of baking soda (1 tspn baking soda + a few drops liquid soap in about 1 litre of water). Test a few leaves first. Baking soda increases the leaf surface pH – an environment powdery mildew spores won’t grow on.
- Caution: Garlic spray can be used as a general purpose insecticide and fungicide but be aware it kills your friendly little beneficial insects as well as plant pests and diseases so use carefully. and please consider other options you have before using any spray even if it is organic.
- Chook Health: Adding finely chopped garlic to your little ladies’ food and water monthly (during the full moon cycle) is a good natural worm preventative. It also stimulates digestive organs, treats intestinal infections and bacteria, is a wonderful disinfectant, alleviates catarrh and benefits the liver and gall bladder. Your chooks will thank you!
References & Resources:
- Medicinal Properties of Garlic
- Garlic Proven 100 Times More Effective than Antibiotics, Working in a Fraction of the Time
- Garlic More Effective than Antibiotics against Food Poisoning Bacteria
- Herbal & Plant Based Tooth Ache Remedies
- Home Remedies for Garlic
- Garlic Health Benefits Against Cancer & Other Diseases
- Garlic Ingredient Delivers Death to Cancer Cells
- Garlic Research Report
If you missed Part 1 – 5 Step Guide to Growing Gorgeous Garlic, then check it out – you’ll learn just how easy it is to grow this flavoursome, medicinal and versatile herb. You might also enjoy Guide to Growing Spring Onions – both indoors and out!
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© Copyright Anne Gibson, The Micro Gardener 2016. https://themicrogardener.com. All rights reserved.