I harvested garlic this year for the first time – and from now on I will plant garlic every year. So easy, and the anticipation is half the fun.
I did not know that the garlic cloves are planted in the fall of one year and harvested in July of the next year. I planted six small cloves and I got six large beautiful bulbs of garlic! This fall I am going to plant more than that – six bulbs will not last very long.
If you are thinking of planting garlic, be sure to use only organic cloves from a reliable source. I was told that the garlic you buy in the store is not good for planting. In late spring, the garlic will grow curly scapes – if you remove these the bulbs will grow bigger. The scapes are edible; you can chop them up and throw them into a salad or a stirfry. By the middle of July the leaves will start turning brown and withering from the bottom up. When the bottom two or three leaves have withered, it is time to dig up the garlic. Shake off excess dirt but leave the stem attached. The garlic needs to cure (dry) for a few weeks in a dry, well-ventilated area until the bottom roots are very dry. Then you can remove the stem and bottom roots and it is ready to use.
I used the first of my fresh garlic today when making a quinoa side dish. It was so potent I used half of the amount called for in the recipe.
What better way to use fresh garlic than garlic bread? Make this butter at least a day ahead to deepen the flavour; it can be refrigerated or frozen until needed.
Bacon Cheese Garlic Bread
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 2 Tbsp. minced garlic
- 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
- 1 Tbsp. chopped chives
- Real bacon bits, cooked and chopped very fine
- Thick slices French bread
(as many as you need)
- Old cheddar cheese, shredded
- Parmesan cheese
Mix butter, garlic, parsley, chives and bacon bits.
Let sit at room temperature for a few hours or refrigerate for a few days.
Spread garlic butter on French bread slices.
Put bread slices on a baking sheet.
Cover generously with shredded cheddar cheese.
Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
Broil in oven until cheese is melted and starting to brown.