For garlic lovers, the sight and smell of this bulb stirs the senses and imagination. Thoughts of crusty garlic bread, savory sauces and golden, roasted cloves inspire culinary creativity and often encourages one to resurrect an old recipe – like it did for me this past week.
With fresh garlic in hand from a friend’s garden and ready to try a favorite recipe I used to make in the 80’s, God showed me a new use for garlic.
A few years ago, I moved into the mountains of New York and encountered garlic growers who stirred a new level of interest in me; just how is garlic grown… harvested… and used locally? Then I met David Panza, a local organic farmer, who shared his holistic approach with me and answered my questions.
Garlic is planted in the fall, usually in October around the full moon, but can be planted in November as long as the ground is still soft. As the garlic grows, a ‘scape’ grows up in the middle of the plant. Once the scape curls, it is snapped off to allow the outside leaves to grow and capture more of the sun’s energy for the bulb’s growth.
Harvest takes place the next summer, in July or August, when the leaves begin to brown from the top down. The best time to pull garlic is when the leaves have browned two-thirds the way down. Once pulled, the garlic should be placed in the shade then tied or braided together and hung in a cool, dry place to preserve for long-term storage.
I love to use garlic to make a family favorite recipe for Garlic Sauce that we used on salads and as a dip. So with two large, freshly pulled bulbs, I headed straight to the supermarket to pick up the other ingredients. Little did I know, in the parking lot I would find another way garlic is used locally.
I zipped into the store and was out in minutes, only to find a woman ahead of me, pushing a shopping cart at a slower pace headed toward my car. The way I had pulled through, our driver-side doors were side by side. She saw my light, energetic step and hand filled with items and receipt, no bag, and waived me through. I hopped into my seat and pulled the door closed. Sitting in the car, God was waiting to show me how He likes to use garlic. Before I could get the key in the ignition, I heard a still, small voice: “Give her one of the bulbs.”
I’ve walked with God too long to hesitate, so I immediately cracked the door open, grabbed the biggest clove ( we can never outdo God!) and said to the woman: “I have some garlic that was just pulled from the garden today, would you like some?” She responded, “I love garlic! You’re gonna make me cry. I had a hard day today.”
“Well,” I said, “God put you on my heart, so it’s a hug from God.”
She came over and gave me a hug and kiss, received the garlic with tears in her eyes and got in her vehicle. I drove off praising God for loving each of us so well – right where we are- and showing me how He likes to use garlic...with love!
Do you question how God can use you? Remember His promise: Seek and you will find, knock and door will be open to you. Enjoy the gifts of today, both small and large. And be on the lookout for God’s response to all the questions in life.
Everyday He will not only help you connect with the answers to your questions, but will show you His answers… His response. And in the process, you will encounter His heart… His love that flows to and through you.
Mary’s Garlic Sauce:
1 package of Tofu, silken or soft
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
1 – 3 cloves of garlic (depending on how strong you prefer. I use three.)
Herbs and spices of choice. Have fun!
In a food processor or blender, drop chunks of the tofu
Add 1 – 3 clove of garlic, finely chopped
Add other herbs and spices ( I usually like mine plain)
Turn machine on and drizzle EVOO until you get the consistency you like – less for dipping, more for dressing (I average ¼ cup)
Cover and let set in refrigerator until ready to use. Good for days!