Ahhh, garlic, giver of bad breath and deliciousness in equal, generous measure. In our region, it’s time to plant now so that we can enjoy our own garlic next year.
Garlic has a reputation of being a cinch to grow. It requires sun but not much room: you can plant it in your garden, intersperse it around other plants, or even grow it in containers.
Why grow garlic? If you’re not already, be a garlic snob. Don’t be that person buying chopped garlic in a jar. (As Anthony Bourdain says, “Too lazy to peel fresh? You don’t deserve to eat garlic.”) Don’t be that person buying those sad, little garlic heads that shipped in from China. (I find it embarrassing when my food is better traveled than I am.) Get the good, quality stuff from farmers markets, specialty stores, or your garden. As someone who’s spent an embarrassing amount of money on garlic, I’m opting for the garden this year. So let’s get some serious garlic snob cred by Spring while saving some cash.
How to Grow Garlic
And as an ode to garlic, a little more from Anthony Bourdain (swoon!):
“Garlic is divine. Few food items can taste so many distinct ways, handled correctly. Misuse of garlic is a crime. Old garlic, burnt garlic, garlic cut too long ago and garlic that has been tragically smashed through one of those abominations, the garlic press, are all disgusting. Please treat your garlic with respect. Sliver it for pasta, like you saw in Goodfellas; don’t burn it. Smash it, with the flat of your knife blade if you like, but don’t put it through a press. I don’t know what that junk is that squeezes out the end of those things, but it ain’t garlic. And try roasting garlic. It gets mellower and sweeter if you roast it whole, still on the clove, to be squeezed out later when it’s soft and brown. Nothing will permeate your food more irrevocably and irreparably than burnt or rancid garlic. Avoid at all costs that vile spew you see rotting in oil in screw-top jars. Too lazy to peel fresh? You don’t deserve to eat garlic.”
—Anthony Bourdain, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly