Monday, January 10, 2011

"Without garlic I simply would not care to live." Louis Diat (1885-1958)

Garlic  . . . the stinking rose . . . has been used for millennia to cure ailments, ward off evil, and repel pests.  But there are some uses for garlic that may surprise you. 

Garlic contains acids that are released when a clove is freshly cut. It can act alone as an adhesive on paper or glass.  In fact, garlic juice has been used for centuries in China to repair cracked glass. 

When it is rubbed on a surface, it gives it a key or tooth for the glue to get a better grip.  For example, a good way to ruin a valuable antique is to repair it using a modern adhesive.  Used in conjunction with hide glue (1) you can safely repair joints on antiques and the process is reversible.  Just cut and wipe the joint with garlic, wipe off any excess and glue with hide glue. You can also add the garlic to the glue itself to make it grip better.

Because it is so sticky, garlic juice is used as a mordant(2) for setting dyes but also for gilding. A technique usually found on paper and fabric but it is also known to be used on furniture and decoration.

Another use is as a flux(3) to prepare copper, brass and bronze to be painted.  There are copper panel paintings that are over 400 years that garlic was used to etch the metal prior to painting.  Garlic juice has a chemical composition that prevents oxidation and allows the paint to bond and prevent peeling.


Fishes are attracted to garlic.  You can make your own fish bait by marinating mini marshmallows in crushed garlic - just toss the two together in a covered container and go.    You can also use garlic to refresh lures like soft rubber worms by combining them in a container with some cooking oil and garlic . . . let them soak for a couple hours and then go fishing.  Catfish, bass, trout, and other kinds of fish like it. Give it a go . . .  your catch will be seasoned from the inside out.

Perfect Roasted Garlic

"Garlic used as it should be used is the soul, the divine essence, of cookery. The cook who can employ it successfully will be found to possess the delicacy of perception, the accuracy of judgment, and the dexterity of hand which go to the formation of a great artist."
Mrs. W. G. Waters in 'The Cook's Decameron,' 1920

Garlic is an indispensible ingredient it imparts wonderful flavor and depth to most dishes.  Roasting literally transforms garlic’s sharp bite to a sweet, nutty flavor that tatstes wonderful on fresh, crusty bread and a perfect complement to your favorite recipes.  Roasting garlic is simple.  There is no fancy equipment required.  All you need is a knife, aluminum foil and an oven. After your garlic is roasted to the perfect caramel color, you can eat it right away or save it for future use which means you can roast a little or a lot.

Select garlic bulbs that are large and well shaped.

Cut the top off the bulbs with a serrated knife.  You can peel off any loose, papery skin.

Lay your bulbs on a piece of aluminium foil and drizzle a generous amount of olive oil over the top.  Sprinkle generously with kosher salt and crushed black pepper.

Seal the aluminum around the bulbs and bake in a 450F oven for an hour.

Nom-dilly-icious perfection!

There is no such thing as a little garlic.  ~A. Baer

(1) Hide glue is a type of glue which is made from collagen, a protein found in animal hides and hooves. Until the 20th century, hide glue was probably the most widespread glue in use, utilized in a wide range of fields to create strong joins between various objects. Today, a range of synthetic glue products are available in addition to hide glue; a hardware store or woodworking supplier is a good place to find hide glue, if you need some for a project.

(2) A mordant is a substance used to set dyes on fabrics or tissue sections by forming a coordination complex with the dye which then attaches to the fabric or tissue. It may be used for dyeing fabrics, or for intensifying stains in cell or tissue preparations. The term mordant comes from the Latin word, "mordere", to bite. In the past, it was thought that a mordant helped the dye bite onto the fiber so that it would hold fast during washing.

(3) One of the active ingredients in garlic is a cysteine-based sulfur rich amino acid compound called allicin. When crushing the clove a garlic bulb, a protein-based enzyme called alliinase is released converting the compound into a sulfenic acid and is almost spontaneously condensed down to form Allicin, which bears the typical odor of garlic. Highly unstable Allicin rapidly converts to other sulfur-compounds such as Ajoene capable of slowing or preventing oxidation

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