Garlic (Allium sativum) is part of the onion family and is a powerful, medicinal plant with a distinct flavour. The bulb is most commonly eaten, but you can also eat the scape (or flower) before it blooms. Garlic cloves are planted in the fall, overwintered, and, after forming bulbs, harvested in mid-summer.
Garlic has two harvests. Scapes are harvested in early-mid July after they have curled around one or two times.
Bulbs are ready to harvest when the outer leaves are dry and brown (have died off)—usually late July or early August. Though you can eat garlic fresh from the ground, bulbs are best eaten (and more flavourful) after they have cured (dried) for at least a month. Hang plants whole in a dark, well-ventilated area. Cut the bulb from the plant when you’re ready to eat it.
Garlic has a very intense, pungent flavour. Cooking garlic dramatically changes (sweetens) the flavour. Garlic is most often used to season tomato sauces, soups, stews, chili, vinaigrettes, dips, etc. Garlic is delicious chopped in eggs or fried with greens like kale.
Garlic is high in protein, vitamin C, potassium, calcium, sulphur, and phosphorus. It can help lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and detoxify your body. It may even reduce the risk of dementia and improve bone health.
Garlic has also been used as a medicine for thousands of years! It has antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal properties. People eat raw garlic to help fight colds. Because of its strong smell, garlic was used to scare away demons, werewolves, and, of course, vampires.