Growing and drying garlic is an art.  The growing part takes a little bit of patience (and love) but how it is dried, I think that that's where its deliciousness lies. Flavor, intensity, clove size and shelf life vary from variety to variety and it has become another seasonal pleasure of mine to shop for the tastiest types as soon as they hit the market stalls in early august. Some of you may already be familiar with garlic's early gift, garlic scapes, that show up in early summer. They are the tantalizing reminder of the goodness to come.

Garlic belongs to the Alliaceae family, which also includes onions leeks and shallots. However, if you are at all concerned for your health (which you probably are if you're reading this), you may be interested in knowing that garlic is a powerful antioxidant, much more powerful than any of the other aforementioned members of the same family. It also apparently can help stabilize blood sugar levels. It can be used as an antiseptic and can even help with some fungal conditions, like thrush. Though I think the jury is still out of whether eating garlic can help reduce cholesterol levels and prevent certain types of cancer, I think it is safe to say that it does an amazing job preventing a cold and lessening its symptoms if you do happen to catch does in my world anyway :)  We put it in mostly anything, as I'm sure you do too, and goes well in all forms of international cooking. It truly is amazingly versatile.

Don't ever be fooled by the garlic found in most grocery stores. It probably hails from China and could never hold a candle to the wonderful local varieties that are out there. I would suggest ordering a few braids now to make sure you have enough of the good stuff to make it through the next few seasons.

 I had the opportunity to help with some of the garlic harvest a few weeks ago and let me tell you that it is going to be a good year for garlic lovers! If you are in the Montreal area on August 20th, drop on by the Annual Garlic Festival in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue (located on the market grounds) and pick up as much garlic as you can handle.  It is one of those crops that tastes fantastic fresh, but thankfully some varieties also keep wonderfully well all year long, and that is definitely something to celebrate!




I'm feeling so inspired by food right now that I will be writing more than one blog post about it. I would love to hear YOUR food stories too! Have you recently started getting CSA baskets? Do you shop at a local market? Do you have a favorite family farm? Do you run a farm? What foods feed your soul?

Looking forward to hearing from you!