One day during an autumn month, I was strolling through my neighbourhood farmers market, admiring the colourful early-fall veggies, as I normally do.
But on that particular day, one stand stood out far more than the others. Ironically, there wasn’t an array of colourful vegetables or animated vendors calling me over. This simple, under-stated stand had one thing to sell and one thing only: beautiful bulbs of garlic!
This stand, belonging to the sustainable garlic producer Mayo Hill Garlic, displayed a sea of fourteen different garlic varieties. Each variety was clearly labeled and had the most descriptive tasting notes for garlic I’d ever seen – almost comparable to a fine bottle of vintage wine! Some examples include:
- Leningrad – “Well rounded. Great flavour, pungent, hot with a lasting bite…”
- Russian red – “Wonderful flavour in all areas. Its large cloves that are easy to peel make it a pleasure to use in the kitchen…”
- Great Northern – “Starts medium warm and then lingers with deep flavour…Hardy…”
- Georgian Crystal – “Can be eaten raw (in pesto or salsa) or roasted for a smooth buttery flavour…”
“Garlic is divine. Few food items can taste so many distinct ways, handled correctly. Misuse of garlic is a crime…Please, treat your garlic with respect…Too lazy to peel fresh? You don’t deserve to eat garlic.”― Anthony Bourdain, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly
The garlic experts standing proudly at their stand were Renée Giroux and Gary Bougard, and I’ve since tried multiple varieties of their garlic. As the tasting notes suggest, the different garlic types truly do have different pungency, heat and flavour. Some are great raw in a pesto or hummus. Others, like the Italian purple, are great cooked in pasta sauces and stews. Some get so buttery and mild after roasting that I’ve spread it on my whole grain sourdough toast!
We’ve all heard of garlic’s cure-all properties and it is by no means a modern fad. In fact, an Egyptian papyrus dating back to 1500 hundred BC gave instructions on how to concoct twenty-two different garlic preparations to treat conditions ranging from fatigue to cancer.
So if you’re looking for a fall food that is definitely delicious and nutritious – then stop by your local market and stock up on garlic for the winter. It makes a lovely display (the top picture is of my garlic hanging in my kitchen) and is easy to store (click here for simple storage tips from Mayo Hill Garlic).
Tasty food and healthy food are not mutually exclusive!
P.S. You won’t find too many recipes without garlic here.
P.P.S Looking for more info on the health prosperities of garlic? Click here to learn more.