Ginormous Garlic

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By Heidi Lewis

“Ginormous” sounds like a word a second grader made up to mean super-duper big—but it was, in fact, accepted into the Webster’s Dictionary in 2007. New words must go through a rather rigorous trial to get into dictionary-land, and ginormous is fairly high ranking — #7, between Bollywood and microgreens. New words don’t get in without causing a fair amount of debate among wordsmiths. Some debate that ginormous sounds juvenile, and others contend that the more synonyms the better—lighten up and play with your language.

The garlic in our West Coast TakeHome cases this week gets the moniker “Colossal” garlic gets the moniker because of its size category, not its variety. It is a tried-and-true Early California White garlic that is expertly grown by Full Belly Farm in Guinda (Yolo County), CA. Garlic comes in small, medium, large, colossal, and super colossal. Colossal should not be confused with the other giant — Elephant garlic. Elephant garlic is actually its own species, closely related to leek, and another story.

The best way to access the superlative power of garlic is always being refined. While tasty when cooked, raw garlic has more health benefits, and is most powerful when let to sit. In a recent garlic study performed by University of Alabama at Birmingham, sulfide biologist Dr. David Kraus noted: “To maximize the health benefits, you should crush the garlic at room temperature and allow it to sit for about 15 minutes. That triggers an enzyme reaction that boosts the healthy compounds in garlic.”

California garlic season is here. The harvest is between June and August, with newly cured bulbs lasting for the next few months. As FruitGuys’ buyer Rebecca North says, “they’re fresh as a daisy!” A sensory befuddlement, garlic and flowers, but language is funny that way.

Preparation: Peel cloves away from the bulb as needed. Smash clove with the flat side of knife to separate and remove skin. Chop, smash, mince, slice, or dice as needed.

Storage: Cured garlic will keep for weeks if not allowed to get too moist or dry. Optimum conditions are 55 °F and 40% humidity with some airflow. A little terra cotta flower pot is a good container

 

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