Glorious Garlands of Garlic
Garlands of Garlic – In all parts of the world there are legends of garlic being used to ward off evil spirits and these beliefs may stem from this plant’s medicinal history as potent defender against more serious threats such as harmful bacteria or viruses. For many today, garlic is still an old standby when flu season hits; crushed garlic cloves and ginger added to boiling water will get a sweat going and the garlic may help to boost your immune system. Fortunately, in those winter months, local garlic can still be found in markets and specialty food stores. By spring, Quebec garlic has mostly vanished from the city and unless we’ve rationed well we must wait until August for the new arrivals.
Those loyal to local foods will follow garlic development throughout the late spring and summer. In June, the garlic scapes appear; these are the greens and flower bulb from the garlic plant and they taste great in pastas, salads, and dips. In July, we see the arrival of green garlic which tastes like regular garlic but without the spiciness. When mature garlic is harvested in mid-summer, it needs to be cured so that the outer layers harden to protect the oils and moisture inside the bulb. August is when we finally begin to see those beautiful braids hanging from stalls at the markets.
The summer months are a great time to eat garlic- the pungent flavour that was meant to keep insects away from the plant is known to be a good deterrent for mosquitos. But there are also many other reasons to eat it all year long- garlic is known to decrease the risk of certain types of cancers and is known to lower both blood pressure and cholesterol. But health benefits aside, the reason many of us eat this bulb is that we absolutely love the strong flavour.
It was once believed that garlands of garlic worn around the neck would protect us from blood-sucking vampires. Vampires are not seen as much of a threat these days, but do go and buy those beautiful garlands of garlic and hang them in your kitchen so that you are well-stocked with a medicinal and culinary powerhouse!
This garlicy Peri Peri sauce tastes great on chicken or meats. Use it as a marinade and as a sauce to slather onto your favourite barbecued foods.
Peri Peri Sauce
- 4 large cloves of garlic
- 6 tbsp olive oil
- 2 large Anaheim chili peppers, chopped (any large milder chili pepper works)
- Juice of one lemon
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
Blend all ingredients together using an immersion blender or food processor.
Natalie Lavers is a health and wellness consultant in Montreal. She offers advice on using food and stress reduction techniques to support proper digestion and optimal health. Find out more about her and get more recipes at www.lavienourrie.com.