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Lotsa garlic

By Penny Stine

Before I learned in my master gardener class last year that you're not supposed to plant garlic from seed, I planted garlic from seeds I got from my mom. She planted garlic in her garden in hopes it would serve as a pest control, since neither she nor my dad like garlic.
I know! How can anyone not like garlic? How can I be a direct descendent of two people who don't like garlic???
I love garlic when it's like this. Not only are they pretty, but the lovely curlicues are the scape, and they make delicious pesto. I took some to the bluegrass festival and gave it away and promised to post the recipe, so here goes:



A bunch of garlic scapes
some olive oil
toasted pine nuts (a big 'ole handful)
grated parmesan cheese
Blend all of the above in a good blender or a food processor. Tastes good on a cracker, with pasta or wherever you'd normally use basil pesto.
Sorry I can't be more specific, but I was in a hurry and didn't measure anything.

The tricky part about garlic is knowing when to pick. You don't want to harvest while it's green and growing because the bulb isn't fully developed. You don't want to wait until it's like this, because the leaves often get separated from the bulb and it's hard to find the bulb, since it's underground.



I didn't plant this patch of garlic - it's what I didn't find last year. I'm sure I'll have it here again next year because it died back so suddenly and I didn't dig it in a timely manner.




In spite of my late digging, I got this much garlic. Yes, it was dark outside by the time I took this picture. I could make up a story and say that garlic tastes better when it's harvested by the light of the moon, but really, I just didn't want to wait any longer to harvest it, so I dug it one night after working all day, going to the grocery store and doing dinner when I discovered how much the stalks had dried while I wasn't paying attention.

The next day I cleaned the bulbs with this little plastic pink brush and discovered another reason not to wait so long to dig the garlic. You lose the thin, paper-like covering that protects the bulbs and allows them to store for months.





When I tried to brush this one clean, I brushed the covering off. I'm sure this is one of the garlic planted from seed, because it's one big bulb rather than a bulb made of up several cloves. That's what you often get when you plant from seed. Although I dug several normal bulbs with decent cloves, at least half of what I dug are large garlic uni-bulbs.

Oh well. It all tastes the same. And unlike my parents, I think it tastes delicious! 


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