To many, the start of summer conjures up images of picnics on warm summer days spent indulging in sun-ripened sweet, fragrant juicy fruit. Yet the commencement of our warmest quarter of the year also marks none other than garlic season and with it, a scent of a different kind.
Quite possibly the most widely used ingredient throughout all known human civilisations, this pungent bulb remains the number one common flavour additive, along with sea salt.
Despite its lengthy and somewhat temperamental growing habits, growing your own garlic is attainable, perhaps with a little guidance from specialist writers such as Penny Woodward in her book Garlic or The Australian Fruit & Vegetable Garden by The Diggers Club.
On the other hand, with dedicated growers such as John Olliff of Freshwater Creek Organic Garlic, perhaps your preference is to leave it to the specialists and simply learn which of your local stockists have such fine bulbs available for purchase.
Whichever is your preference, we’ve just one request … make sure it’s Australian farmed garlic. There are many reasons apart from the inherent food miles for this request: imported garlic is often bleached, irradiated, sprayed with maleic acid to stop it from sprouting, kept for lengthy periods in cold storage and treated with methyl bromide (potent, toxic biocide with insecticidal, fungicidal and herbicidal properties) before being released to market.
For more information about Australian garlic growers, visit www.garlicaustralia.asn.au