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Posts Tagged ‘garlic’

We were fortunate to visit family this weekend – a trip to suburbia to enjoy a great meal and super company.  My parents gave me the passion I have for cooking (and eating) and it is always a thrill to share a meal, learn from each other and share our passion of food.  Food has a special place in our relationship and has really provided a bridge for us to form an adult friendship and bond – one where I am still their child but closer to equal.  Cooking with and for family is one of the greatest honours I can have and I enjoy doing it with and for them a great deal.

My folks had requested an odd gift in the fall – 10 bulbs of garlic.  The idea was pretty simple – break it into it’s tiny sweet bulbs and plant them a few inches under the ground.  I bought Ontario Garlic at the St Lawrence Market – it’s a far different beast from the bleached white mini bulbs one buys in most major retailers these days.  It’s skin is a beautiful dark tinge shaded with a kiss of purple and beige.  It’s skin can be loose and it’s cloves can be almost as large as one of the standard bulbs.

Ontario Garlic - Living Large and Local

Ontario Garlic - Living Large and Local

My Father planted it in the fall – it is a very straightforward process; break apart the cloves, keep the skin in tact.  Plant them about 6 inches under the surface.  For maximum results, plant the bulb upright (i.e. the tough flat end down towards the center of the earth) – placing these by hand in this manner can result in garlic that is two times larger than otherwise as the garlic shoots have easier access to the sun and therefore grow faster, easier and heartier.

I was excited to see the initial results:

Sure signs of spring...

Sure signs of spring...

This is the start of garlic shoots – they will grow a foot or so and flower.  When 1/3rd of the leaves die, it’s time to dig it up and leave it cure outside (out of the rain – we will likely use the garage and leave the door open a crack) for about 20 days.  It can be stored around freezing for 4-6 months as long as it is ventilated.

One more very important thing to consider – the green shoots are edible and incredible.  If you ever have the chance to buy them, jump at it!  |They can be used like green onion though they taste of garlic – a giant advantage over the bulb is that they burn at a much higher temperature; meaning that you can sear tuna or other meat, add a garlic flavour and not burn it.  You can also use these in a salad, pesto or as a fresh herb.

Too late to grow from buld this year – but it couldn’t be easier, cheaper or better than this come fall!

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Just a short post, i’m sure joel will embellish on. This summer we discovered “Ontario Garlic”, in an effort to buy more produce closer to home, we were in St.Jacobs Ontario at a farmers market. We got talking to one of the farmers about his Ontario garlic, he was really passionate about it and had some very strong opinions on the stuff imported by grocery stores from china. He told us that he couldn’t sell his garlic as cheaply as they could, it was impossible to even produce for that much let alone package and ship it across the globe. Next time you buy garlic from the grocery store in the little mesh bag, notice how white it is, and how uniform in shape and how they stack perfectly together. They look manufactured, and i’ve notice they taste manufactured as well, or they don’t taste at all. Ontario garlic is big and bulbous and uneven and has a purplish colour to the outter skin. When you bust it open to get a clove they’re HUGE, gigantic and they smell awesome. Joel has managed to find a ‘garlic guy’ at the St.Lawrence North market who says he has enough ontario garlic to sell at the market through to spring. Another reason to ‘shop local’, and talk to the people you’re buying from, you’d be really surprised at how passionate someone can be about garlic.

 

 

Ontario Garlic

Ontario Garlic

 

Ontario Garlic

Ontario Garlic

 

a clove of ontario garlic, wish i had something in the photo for scale, its HUGE. It has a sweeter flavour to it too.

a clove of ontario garlic, wish i had something in the photo for scale, it's HUGE. It has a sweeter flavour to it too.

 

 

 

imported garlic

imported garlic

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