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Elephant Garlic

Large purple flowersElephant garlic, also commonly called Russian garlic, is a popular edible bulb in some cultures. In some regions it is found naturalised on old house sites and it is a welcome, or sometimes, unwelcome inhabitant of many suburban gardens – but it is not garlic.
 There is however a cultivar of true garlic that is also called Russian Garlic and this should not be confused with elephant garlic. So what is elephant garlic? Its botanical name is Allium ampeloprasum (Ampeloprasum Group) ‘Elephant Garlic’ and it is actually a close relative of the leek, A. ampeloprasum (Porrum Group). It is only more distantly related to true garlic (A. sativum). Other common names are giant garlic, great-headed garlic, Levant garlic, Yorktown onion, and in French, ail d’orient, and German, pferdknoblauch.

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Garlic Breath

Garlic clovesGarlic breath has caused consternation for hundreds of years.  Some people are more affected than others and different forms of preparation will cause more of the flavour and odour to be present. As a rule, the stronger the garlic flavour, the stronger the effect on breath and body odour. Experiments have shown that the source of some of the breath odour is small particles of garlic retained in the mouth, and if this is the case then it is possible that mouthwashes, cleaning the teeth or the suggestions below will alleviate or mask the odour.

Early antidotes were raw beans, parsley and baked beetroot, chewed vigorously. Today the list is longer: parsley, spinach, celery, ginger, chervil, peppermint, fennel, cardamon or fenugreek seeds, coffee beans, angelica water, cloves, milk and various proprietary brands of mouthwash have all been suggested. Researchers at the department of Food Science and Technology at The Ohio State University discovered in 2010 that drinking a glass of milk can reduce the bad breath associated with eating garlic. Whole, full fat milk was the most effective and it was more effective if drunk during the meal, then after.

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Garlic Sprouts and Garlic Greens

Garlic sprouts are more commonly known as garlic scallions in the US and UK. Typically they are garlic that is harvested when still very young, before the bulb has started to swell and when the leaves are still tender. Plants are approximately 30cm tall. They are very similar in size and age to spring onions (known as shallots in some states).

Plant cloves for garlic sprouts in rows in the ground, or in large pots, with only a few millimetres between cloves. It is a great way to use up small cloves, bulbils and cloves that are sprouting too late in the year to allow time for full sized bulbs to develop.

Home gardeners can grow them in a pot on a windowsill or in odd corners of the garden.

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Green Garlic

Green Garlic is also sometimes called garlic shoots, garlic leeks, spring garlic and new garlic. Like wild harvested food, green garlic is becoming popular in the US and UK so you can be sure that Australia will soon follow suit. The French have been growing and cooking it for decades, if not centuries, and an attempt was made to grow and market it in Australia about 15 years ago. It didn’t work then because the Australian population wasn’t ready for it and didn’t understand how it could be used. But with the plethora of cooking shows, both professional and home cooks are much more adventurous and now might be the time to try growing it and selling to your local chefs or at markets. Green garlic is seasonal eating at its very best and can be used like shallots (spring onions) in salads and stir-fries.

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Garlic, a brief overview

Garlics’ proper  title is Allium sativum ,  the most pungent member of the onion tribe. It has been used for more than 6 centuries for healing and culinary purposes, across many cultures.

Its’ effects on health are many & various .
   To quote Andrew Weil M.D.,  (Associate Director of the program in Integrative Medicine – Uni of Arizona):
   “ It lowers blood pressure, cholesterol levels & triglycerides,  while increasing the HDL fraction of total cholesterol & reducing susceptibility of LDL cholesterol to oxidize.
    Also reduces the clotting tendency of blood by inhibiting the readiness of platelets to aggregate
    It acts as an antiseptic & antibiotic, & enhances activity of the immune system.” ( SPONTANEOUS HEALING p. 173)

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Garlic Grows to Life

THE Australian garlic industry is staging a comeback, thanks to a newly revived peak industry body.

In its heyday the Australian Garlic Industry Association had 300 members.

But the 21-year-old association was close to collapse last year, due to lack of interest.

A letter to members from secretary Henry Bell warned the association would have to be wound up, prompting several members to volunteer for executive positions.

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