Have you ever tried to kiss someone after they've eaten spaghetti sauce that was loaded up with garlic? P.U.! You can nearly smell them from a mile away let alone when they're right in front of you! But though that scent can be quite a powerful smell to inhale, the rewards of eating garlic definitely outweigh the stinky negatives.
Garlic falls into the same category as onions, leeks and shallots, but unlike its family members, it's known for its medicinal qualities in addition to its flavor. Garlic contains many essential nutrients and antioxidants, helps to improve cholesterol and may reduce toxicity levels in the body, according to nutritionists.
It's also relatively easy to plant and maintain garlic, so consider growing your own this year. The ideal time to plant garlic is in the fall. (You can plant in spring, but experts say that your bulbs will grow larger and potentially more flavorful if you start the process in the fall.) Here's what you need to get started:
--A sunny spot of soil, reaching 12 inches deep.
--Cloves of garlic (from a plant or garden shop; don't just plant the cloves from a bulb of garlic that you can purchase at a grocery). There are several types of garlic cloves to decide from. You can check out the Mother Earth News website to find out which is best for you.
You'll want to prepare the soil by loosening it and applying a thin layer (1 inch) of manure on top of the soil. Plant each clove about a hand's length away from each other with the pointy ends up and the fat ends down. From there, you'll stick your thumb straight into the ground and plant the clove about 2 to 4 inches deep, packing the soil tightly around the top.
Harvesting the plant: Harvest times may vary, but the yellowing of the tops is a good indicator. When you see this, use a digging fork to gently pull up the plants and then store them in a cool place for one to two weeks.
Enjoy your fresh garlic and make sure to warn your sweetheart before going in for a kiss!