Garlic Is Our Friend picture

Garlic Is Our Friend

In the natural world, during the late spring and all through summer, the forest is teaming with life. Most of the animal life in the forest isn't a problem for us when we visit the woods on hikes and camping trips, but some of them can make life difficult for us.  However, if you look around, you will see how nature also has an uncanny way of providing natural solutions for many of the problems that can arise, and garlic is one of them.

As soon as the temperature starts to warm up, and the night time lows get into the upper 40s and lower 50s, mosquitoes season is up and running for the year, and will continue until the night time lows drop back down into the 40s again.  While they mostly feed on fruit nectar, the female needs the protein in blood to develop her eggs, and every female mosquito can drink roughly 3 times her own weight in blood. Even though it would take over 1M bites to drain a human body, it wouldn't matter you would have gone mad long before then, and quite possibly into toxic shock of all of the anticoagulant.

Garlic is a very good plant to have around for multiple reasons. Most people already know that It's good for the heart and circulatory system but few people seem to know just how much most biting insects do not like it. In fact many troublesome insects do not like garlic, and growing it will help keep some of the pests away from your garden as well. Much like Chrysanthemum will. The garlic scapes, or flower heads, are edible also. In fact when growing garlic, many people will harvest the scapes and cook them, then the bulbs in the ground will grow larger since they won't be using the energy to produce flowers and seeds. You can approach it the same way in the wild, but unless primitive living you just cook both at the same time. If you crush a few of the flower heads and rub the oil onto your person it will also help keep the mosquitoes at bay.

Garlic will usually be found growing with a wealth of other wild edibles, such as wild onions, Dandelions, and Plantain. So it can be a flavorful part of a complex meal if so desired. Since it grows in undisturbed earth in the wild, rather than in tilled earth like a garden, and because there is so many other plants competing for the nutrients in the soil,  the cloves are much smaller with wild garlic than what you are used to seeing at the store. So it will take more stalks to have a substantial amount of it, but anywhere it has been growing for any length of time there is usually a good bit of it in the area. Each flower head will produce dozens of seeds.

This is the amount of garlic produced from ten stalks, so also ten cloves, so you can see it definitely takes more cloves to produce the familiar amount of volume.  Yet as I stated earlier, where it does grow it tends to grow in mass so there is usually quite a bit of it available. Once processed it could be eaten as is if necessary. That will certainly help keep the mosquitoes at bay, though it will be pretty intense in flavor. It is better if used to flavor other foods in my opinion, and there are several good recipes for wild edibles, but that will be for a future blog post.



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