Table of contents:
An ode to garlic. Part one
Another winter with a flu epidemic once again made us think about using natural remedies, among which garlic is in one of the first places.
Garlic is one of the most ancient plants that people began to use to their advantage. At first, it was collected in nature along with other edible wild plants, and then they began to specially grow it near dwellings in gardens. Due to its specific features, due to its strong phytoncides, garlic is currently used in the national economy as widely as no other plant.
It is eaten fresh, it is used in cooking, for the preparation of products for future use - in pickles and marinades, in the canning and meat-processing industries. Garlic oil and dry garlic powder are prepared from fresh garlic. Its bulbs are used as raw materials in the pharmaceutical industry for the manufacture of about ten types of drugs; garlic is used in folk and scientific medicine, veterinary medicine, in the fight against pests and diseases of plants and to prevent spoilage of agricultural products.
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Useful properties of garlic
Garlic bulbs contain 35-42% dry matter; 6.0-7.9% crude protein; 7-25 mg% ascorbic acid; 0.5% reducing sugars; 20-27% polysaccharides; 53.3-78.9% sugars; 5.16% fat; vitamins B1, PP, B2. The ash of garlic contains 17 chemical elements; salts of phosphorus, calcium, copper, iodine, titanium, sulfur. Of particular importance are: iodine, which contains 0.94 mg per 1 kg of garlic, iron, which is the same as in apples - 10-20 mg per 100 g, as well as selenium and germanium. Garlic contains amino acids valuable for humans, including a lot of lysine. The presence of sulphides and essential oil determines the sharpness of the taste and the originality of the smell. Antibiotics of higher plants - phytoncides - contained in essential oil, inhibit the development of microorganisms. The bactericidal action of garlic is very high.
The chemical composition of garlic, including the content of essential oil, depends on the variety, planting and harvesting times, soil and climatic conditions, storage conditions, and the composition of fertilizers applied. Garlic contains fructosans, carbohydrates that are easily absorbed by the human body.
Green leaves of garlic are the richest source of ascorbic acid, the content of which is 127-140 mg%. The sugar content in them is 3.7-4.2%.
All of the above raises garlic to the rank of things that people today cannot do without.
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Features of culture
In the process of long evolution, garlic as a cultivated plant has lost its ability to reproduce through seeds and reproduces only vegetatively.
The entire assortment of garlic is divided into winter and spring varieties. The name of the form or variety - winter or spring - determines the timing of planting planting material. Spring garlic varieties are grown during spring planting in almost all geographical areas with favorable temperature and humidity conditions necessary for its cultivation in spring and summer.
It should be noted that most varieties are characterized by a limited range, and therefore, when they are transferred to other soil and climatic conditions that are sharply different from those in which these varieties were formed, they show significant changes in morphological and biological characteristics, which often leads to a decrease in the number and the quality of the bulb crop.
A large number of forms and varieties of garlic, created by selection in the process of human history, allowed it to spread to almost all regions of the earth: in temperate climates, in the subtropics and even in tropical regions.
The great need for the production of garlic for food and as a raw material for the manufacture of medicines, especially in connection with the recent discoveries of its original properties for the treatment of a number of human diseases, including cancer, has led to the fact that the production of this crop increased significantly: the world's population began to consume much more garlic than before.
According to the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), the gross production of garlic in the world exceeded 10 million tons per year, and the area occupied by this crop is 981,000 hectares, while the yield was 10.2 tons / ha. China takes the first place in the production of garlic in the world (from an area of 483,000 hectares, about 6.5 million tons are produced with a yield of 13.4 t / ha).
The situation with the production of garlic in Russia and its supply of the consumer market is currently extremely unsatisfactory. If in 1990 the area under garlic was 1130 hectares, the yield was 2.6 t / ha, the gross harvest was 2938 tons, then in 1998 these indicators were, respectively: 300 ha, 1.5 t / ha and 450 tons, with Moreover, in agricultural enterprises the area for this crop was 40 hectares, and the gross harvest was 60 tons. Today, unfortunately, garlic reigns in the consumer market, purchased in China, India, Egypt, Central Asia, poorly stored, with low taste.
Currently, the production of garlic in Russia is concentrated mainly in home gardening, with winter garlic occupying the main place in the planting structure. It is more early maturing and more productive, but it is poorly stored and is used for autumn and early winter consumption, as well as for canning. Varieties of spring garlic are less productive, but have a high keeping quality, due to which the bulbs are well preserved until the new harvest, and individual ones - up to two years, so it goes into use in the winter-spring-summer period, contributing to the year-round use of fresh garlic in the diet.
Spring garlic is grown as an annual bulbous plant in early spring planting. The root regrowth of the clove in the soil begins at a low positive temperature, therefore, early planting is recommended, which contributes to faster growth of leaves in the initial period.
The leaf of garlic plants is flat, grooved from above, and keeled from below. The color of the leaf varies from light to dark green with varying degrees of waxy bloom. Leaf width 0.5-1.5 cm. Leaf sheaths form a false stem. The number of leaves in one plant varies depending on the variety and growing conditions from 8 to 15. In the process of growth in the axils of the leaves, cloves are formed, forming a bulb. The setting of cloves usually begins behind 5-6 leaves and continues in a spiral until the end of the growing season, resulting in plants with multi-cloved bulbs (up to 25-30 cloves weighing 0.13-3.5 g). The bulb is ribbed, its shape varies from flat to round-oval. Dry covering scales have a different color depending on the variety.
It can be white, with pink, purple and brown tints in the form of blurry dark stripes of the indicated colors. The outer scales are lighter than those underneath. Dry scales covering the tooth are denser, thicker, strong and, as a rule, dark, violet-brown or pinkish-white in color, often covering the tooth scales are colorless. The juicy tissue of the clove is white, although there are varieties of pungent taste in which it is yellowish cream.