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Volume 29 Issue 5
January/February 2024

A Talk with Hersch Wilson: Author of Dog Lessons: Learning the Important Stuff from Our Best Friends

Planning Your Open-Pollinated Garden For Seed Saving, Part 1

Garlic: Superfood and Super Delicious

Lineage: The Indigenous Roots of Osteopathy

It’s Not How Much. It’s How: Banish Cravings and Eat Abundantly

Embracing Sacred Feminine Wisdom:
A 52-Card Wisdom Deck

Veteran Yogis Share Balance Boosting Postures to Reduce the Risk of Falling


Garlic: Superfood and Super Delicious
by Megan Maier
Megan Maier

As we enter into the winter season on our farm, one of the abundant and amazing herbs I incorporate daily into my family’s diet is garlic. Some consider it a superfood for its amazing health benefits, but another compelling reason you should eat garlic daily is for its powerful and delicious flavour. There is a reason garlic is one of the most popular ingredients, or spices, used in cooking around the world and you can find plenty of local, nutritious organic garlic here in Saskatchewan.

Garlic seems like a simple and humble ingredient, but has a sophisticated quality with its different varieties. Two main types of garlic are hardneck and softneck garlic. Hardneck garlic varieties are more suited to growing in cold climates like ours and more closely resembles the wild garlic that humans have harvested for thousands of years, while softneck garlic does better in warmer climates. Hardneck garlic develops a central flowering stem that grows straight up, and also grows a curling scape which needs to be cut off in the early summer to allow more energy into growing the bulb. The garlic scape can be cooked and eaten, pickled or made into delicious garlic scape pesto. Most garlic grown in Saskatchewan is the hardneck strain “Music” according to the government of Saskatchewan website. There are several different varieties of hardneck garlic available to the consumer, including Porcelain (includes the Music strain), Rocambole, Purple Stripe (includes the Russian Red strain), and Purple Stripe Glazed (check out Canadian Prairie Garlic for some beautiful “gourmet” varieties). On our farm we have had success growing Music and Russian Red, resulting in large heads of strongly flavoured garlic. Music garlic is white-coloured, earthy-flavoured garlic averaging about 4–5 cloves per head of large, round bulbs, while Russian Red looks glamorous with its purple colour and slightly stronger, hotter flavour averaging 5 medium-sized cloves per head. Hardneck garlic is known to be more flavourful, or pungent, and has larger bulbs than softneck garlic. Softneck is the type you usually find in the grocery stores (and is usually imported), as it can be stored for a longer time, but many people realize the flavour of the bulbs is not as strong. Softneck garlic is sometimes seen braided together for storage. Hardneck garlic can be stored for up to eight months if stored in a cool, dark place (in a mesh or brown paper bag) with good air circulation, at a temperature between 10º–20ºC. Hardneck garlic can be planted in the fall, or spring, but we have had the best production results by planting in the fall, usually in late September or early October. So if you are looking for amazingly flavourful garlic, look to a local producer. 

The health benefits to eating garlic, raw garlic in particular, are quite numerous. Allicin is a component of garlic that is activated by crushing or chopping the garlic and contains many beneficial compounds including immune-boosting, anti-microbial, and anti-bacterial properties. A 2020 study showed that garlic seemed to boost the immune system in order to fight against viral infection. When my son had a sore throat, he minced garlic and ate it raw and our local nurse practitioner agreed that garlic could help his infection, but warned that one must be careful to not take too much lest it irritate your throat or stomach. One of the downsides of too much garlic may be that you start to take on the strong garlic odour, and that may turn some people away. Other health benefits of garlic consumption include lowering blood pressure, prevention of atherosclerosis, and reduction of cholesterol. Do your body a favour and eat garlic throughout the year, especially during the winter months when colds and flus make their rounds. 

The many anecdotal accounts of garlic’s therapeutic and medicinal properties have been observed for years. Grandma knew best when she said to eat garlic to prevent the common cold and flu. Garlic was even given to the original Olympic athletes in Greece and the Egyptian labourers and slaves building the pyramids, to enhance performance as it was believed to increase strength and stamina. It was prescribed in ancient Chinese, Roman, and Greek medicine to treat a variety of illnesses and diseases.

Garlic has been used in modern medicine to improve gut health, treat coughs, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, fungal and bacterial infections, and there is some evidence to show garlic has helped prevent some types of cancers.

Our family is in the process of making a fermented garlic syrup to take as a flu and cold prevention. Take a pint large-mouth mason jar and fill it with one cup of peeled garlic cloves then using one cup of raw honey (warmed in hot water to liquify it) pour it into the jar and seal it. Now wait for 10–15 days for the mixture to ferment, leaving it on the counter and “burping” it each day by turning it upside down and right side up every other day. Once it is fermented, you can store it in the fridge and take one teaspoon every day, or add it to a salad dressing or sauces when you cook. 

As we look for ways to support our health naturally and inexpensively while also supporting local agriculture, purchasing local, organic garlic is an effective way to meet these goals. Garlic’s many health benefits and delicious flavour will spice up your winter’s cooking and your overall health and vitality. 


Balsamic Garlic Dressing

Here is a way to get raw garlic into your diet: use this versatile dressing on salads or meat or drizzle on sourdough bread.

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2–3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tbsp honey or maple syrup
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1–2 cloves of raw garlic minced
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper 

Mix or whisk the ingredients, or blend in blender, then put in a jar with a lid and store in the refrigerator. Can be stored for several weeks. Delicious!

Tzatziki Sauce

1 cup greek yogurt
1/2 cup shredded cucumber 
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic minced or grated
1–2 tbsp lemon juice or freshly
squeezed lemon
1 tbsp fresh dill
Salt and a bit pepper to taste

Shred cucumber and squeeze excess water out of it. Then combine all the rest of the ingredients in a bowl. Our family loves to eat this served with meat (our favourite is to eat it with lamb or chicken), put it on pitas or on a sandwich, or serve as a vegetable dipping sauce.

Garlic-Parmesan Chicken Wings

2–4 pounds of bone-in chicken wings 
1/4 cup olive oil
sea salt 
freshly ground black pepper 
1/3–1/2 cup melted butter
4 cloves garlic, minced 
2 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
(or frozen)
3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan, plus more for serving 

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Coat wings with oil and salt and pepper and bake for 45–50 minutes. 

Prepare sauce by mixing melted butter, garlic, parsley, and parmesan cheese. 

Take wings out of oven and coat the cooked wings in the sauce. Add some pepper flakes, or hot sauce, if you like it spicy. Finger-licking good! 

1 www.saskatchewan.ca

2 Mustafa Metin Donma and Orkide Donma, “The effects of allium sativum on immunity within the scope of COVID-19 infection” November 2020. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

3 Leyla Bayan, Pier Hossain Koulivand and Ali Gorji, “Garlic: a review of potential therapeutic effects” 2014 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

4 Rivlins Richards S. “Historical Perspective on the Use of Garlic” 2001 www.sciencedirect.com

Megan Maier and her family reside on a ranch near Preeceville, known as Prairie Flavours Ranch. She can be found in her garden, out with the cows and sheep, spending time in nature with her family, and nourishing her family with local food. Their ranch is part of The Farmers’ Table, a farmer-run non-profit organization. They are small Saskatchewan family farmers who use sustainable growing practices. For more information see the display ad on page 9 of the 29.5 January/February issue of the WHOLifE Journal.


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