Did you know that sticking a clove of garlic
in your ear could stop an earache? For centuries, this now
commonplace staple has been thought to add physical strength
to those who consume it.
Garlic is a member of the lily family, along
with leeks, chives, onions and shallots. The bulb - which
is the edible bit - grows beneath the ground, just like potatoes.
Readily available in supermarkets around the world, the major
suppliers today include California, Texas, Louisiana, France,
Spain, Italy and Mexico. In this country, we've got three
kinds to choose from - white-skinned American garlic, Mexican
or Italian garlic (mauve-colored and milder in taste) and
elephant garlic, which is actually a leek, not garlic (quite
monstrous, and the mildest of the three.)
Though available in other forms - powder
and flakes - garlic is such a wonderful spice that not using
the fresh variety is almost sinful. It's easy to peel, crush
or dice and is one of the more versatile spices available.
Remember, the way to know if you have a good garlic press
is if you can crush a clove without peeling it. If you can't
- time to get a new one.
Fresh garlic is best stored in an open container
in a cool, dark place. Bulbs should be able to keep for eight
weeks at a time - whereas if you break the cloves off individually,
they will begin to dry after about three days.