Garlic is a plant widely used in cooking. The main part of the garlic is the bulb, or head, which has a rounded shape and grows underground. Most bulbs weigh about 20 grams, although some can be as large as a kilo and a half (1500 gr.). The bulb is covered with a white wrapping that has a texture similar to paper, and is made up of cloves or bulbils.
Each bulb can contain up to 20 bulbils. Anywhere from 40 to 60 roots branch off from under the bulb. They can reach 30 cm. in length.
At the beginning of spring, long and pointed leaves grow from the top of the bulb. The leaves emerge from the ground and grow to a height of 40 to 80 cm. In the summer the leaves die, but the bulb remains alive, developing new leaves every year. Under ideal conditions, the bulb will develop a stalk that produces small white or pink flowers. These flowers later become seedpods. Garlic’s natural reproductive cycle occurs through these seeds. Garlic growers use another method to propagate the plant, dividing mature bulbs into cloves. Each clove, when planted separately, produces a new bulb. Garlic requires little care. It can resist heat and drought, but is susceptible to cold and some parasites. It occurs naturally in a variety of environments, and does particularly well in hot territories. It is grown almost everywhere on the planet.
The bulbs are mature when the leaves dry up during hot seasons. The plants are then pulled out of the earth and kept in braids created by twisting and weaving together the bulb’s leaves. If kept in a warm, dry place, a garlic strand can last for as long as one year. Garlic is an indispensable addition to many sauces, meats and soups. Adding a clove of garlic gives dishes a distinctive smell and taste. Garlic is also a natural medicine. It has been used as a disinfectant and to combat high blood pressure since the ancient Egyptians’ time. But garlic isn’t universally popular. For some, the strong odor can be annoying or even unbearable. This is probably why a clove of garlic has long been considered a repellant against vampires.