A Baked Garlic a Day Keeps Vampires Away

Through the ages, garlic’s antibacterial therapeutic properties have been used to treat stomachaches, headaches and to keep vampires at bay.

baked-garlic-blogOne of my favorite foodie sayings was found on the awning of an Italian restaurant: “If you don’t like garlic, go home.”

I’ve latched onto that sentiment and loudly declare it whenever I chop a handful of garlic cloves to make garlic butter, sautee into a spaghetti sauce or bake until golden brown for an appetizer.

This year’s garlic harvest was the best one ever and it’s because I grew both hardneck and softneck varieties.

Hardneck garlic produces a flower stalk called a scape. Hardneck is easy to peel and can be stored for 3-6 months.

Softneck garlic doesn’t produce a flower stalk so all the plant’s energy goes to growing larger bulbs. Softneck garlic is what is usually available at the grocery store and can be stored for up to a year.

Garlic (Allium sativum) is a native plant from Central Asia and is a member of the lily family. This edible herb is sometimes classified as a vegetable and is easy to grow in home gardens because it’s adaptable to many climates.

I plant my bulbs in fall (usually October) several weeks before the average date of the first hard freeze. In the spring, the garlic will start growing again and seeing those first green shoots always lift my spirits.

Around here the bulbs are typically ready to harvest in July. If you plant hardneck varieties be sure to cut and use the scapes while they’re still tender.

One of my favorite recipes for home-grown garlic is baked and spread on crusty bread or crackers. This is a simple-to-prepare recipe and the rich fragrance of the garlic baking adds to its appeal.

Whenever you use fresh, chopped garlic, allow time for it to sit a few minutes before cooking. This respite, about 10-15 minutes, allows the garlic’s health-promoting compound called allicin to form.

Recipe for Baked Garlic

Ingredients
One or two whole garlic bulbs
Extra virgin olive oil
Dried herbs such as oregano or leaf thyme

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Peel the loose, papery skins off the garlic bulbs.
Slice the top of each clove to uncover the top of the clove.
Lightly drizzle each clove with olive oil.
Sprinkle with the herb(s) of your choice.
Place in a garlic baker or seal in a foil bundle.
Bake for about 45 minutes.
Remove garlic baker lid or carefully open foil.
Return to the oven for an additional 10-15 minutes until the garlic is lightly browned.
Cool slightly before serving.
Squeeze cloves from their skins while still warm and spread on bread or crackers.


 

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Comments

Words cannot describe how much I loved baked garlic. I think I first made my own from a recipe out of a Nigella Lawson book. Unfortunately, my boyfriend hates the smell, but I do indulge myself on cool winter nights 🙂

Thanks, Kelly. Always great to hear from another garlic lover. Keep on bakin’!

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