Louisa Enright's Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘brining garlic

Turkey Tracks: “Grandma’s Hands”

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Turkey Tracks:  February 6, 2012

Grandma’s Hands

I’ve been wanting to hear a song I used to remember called “Grandma’s Hands.”

I was pretty sure that the singer was Lacy J. Dalton.   But, that wasn’t right.

Sunday morning I decided to tackle the pile of garlic on my kitchen counter–see my earlier post on brining garlic so you don’t lose it.  And, I was thinking about how I could find “Grandmas’s Hands.”  Alongside musing that it’s kind of cool that one harvests garlic in the fall so one has it to ward off winter colds and so forth.

In the 1980s, we all made a lot of music tapes for our own use and for gifts.  Some of my favorite music is on those old, dried-out tapes now–many songs were taken from records that we left behind when we moved to Maine since records were outdated technology.  It suddenly occurred to me that I might find “Grandma’s Hands” on one of the old tapes, so I left the garlic and, sure enough, I still had the tapes.  They were crammed behind the CDs in the lower drawer of our music center.

I haven’t listened to much music lately since I have trouble hearing it.  But, my new hearing aids are wonderful, so I found the tape with “Grandma’s Hands”–and a whole lot of other songs I love–plopped it in.  It’s scratchy and old, but it played.  And I have renewed interest in getting an ipod and downloading these favorite songs to it.  I’ll get advice from my children now and get about doing this new project.  I can stream the ipod into my hearing aids and will have fabulous clarity of sound.

Turns out Barbara Streisand sang “Grandma’s Hands” on my tape.  And some google searches discovered that the song was written by Bill Withers.  Both artists have their versions on utube, so you can hear it if you like quite easily.

And, here’s a picture of this Grandma’s Hands–at rest:

And, at work:

I am never so happy as when I am using my hands to do something–write, plant, weed, sew, knit, cook, paint.  My hands are such a huge part of my life.

PS:  The garlic pile produced–all together–four quarts of brined garlic and some leftovers to keep fresh for another week or so.

Written by louisaenright

February 6, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Turkey Tracks: Preserving Garlic

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Turkey Tracks:  February 2, 2012

Preserving Garlic

Some of our garlic is starting to go soft and to mold–especially the really big bulbs.  It’s that time of year.

Last year, I jollied the bulbs along by putting them into the refrigerator.  I swore then that I’d take the time to clean them and do SOMETHING with them next year.  For those of you who don’t grow things, one plants garlic in the fall, it winters over in the ground, sprouts in the spring, grows all summer–giving you fresh garlic scapes just when you’re hungry for fresh garlic taste–and one harvests in the early fall when the plants start to turn brown.  After pulling up the bulbs, one dries them in a warm dry place, which makes the true, strong garlic taste develop.  After that, one cuts off the stalks and stores the bulbs.  They need cool, dry storage.

Also, EAT GARLIC!.  It has the most amazing chemical properties which can build up your immune system, drive off colds and infections, and keep you generally healthy.  It didn’t get the reputation for vampire protection for nothing!  If you start coming down with a cold, mash a fresh garlic clove into some butter, spread it over a cracker or something like that, and eat it.  Salt helps.  Three times a day.  You’ll notice that help is occurring almost right away.

So, this year, I brined a jar of garlic, which took care of about half of our crop.  You can see what I have left to do.  You can also see the dusky blue light outside my kitchen window

I used a recipe from NOURISHING TRADITIONS since it uses whey.

Brining Garlic

In a quart Mason jar, place the peeled cloves of about 12 heads of garlic.  (If you roll them under your hands or in a towel, the cloves break free easily–all except for the pesky little ones.)

Add 2 teaspoons of dried oregano (I used a savory herb mixture with a Mediterranean base), 2 teaspoons sea salt, 2 Tablespoons of whey.  If you don’t have whey (you drip it out of yogurt), use another 2 teaspoons of sea salt.  Add water to cover, but leave a good inch free at the top.  You’ll notice I have my jar sitting in a saucer to catch drips if the fermentation process gets going in earnest and bubbles start going over the top.

Leave the jar on the counter for about three days, turning it upside down and shaking it a few times a day to distribute the juices.  Then, put it in a cool place.

You can use the garlic like fresh.  The juice is great in salad dressings.  Or, I suspect, a little would jive up soups.

I’m also going to make some GARLIC ELIXIR–from a recipe in WELL BEING JOURNAL, Jan/Feb 2012.  They took it from Doug Oster’s TOMATOES, GARLIC, BASIL:  THE SIMPLE PLEASURES OF GROWING AND COOKING YOUR GARDEN’S MOST VERSATILE VEGGIES.  Sounds like a good book.

Garlic Elixir

1 cup of garlic cloves, peeled

1/4 cup parsley

1 teaspoon salt (sea salt please)

1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar

Olive oil (1/2 to 1 cup)

1 tsp. black pepper

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

optional:  chopped black olives or capers to taste

Process garlic and parsley in a blender until chopped fine– put optional ingredients in first before blending the garlic and parley if using.  Place in a mixing bowl.  Add salt, vinegar, pepper and lemon juice, stir in olive oil.  Place in a glass jar and cover with thin layer of olive oil.  Will store in refrigerator for up to a month.

Wow!  I’m guessing some of that added to salad dressing would make some fabulous salad dressing.  Wonder if one could freeze it…

Push the cloves do