Grow your own garlic tips for flavoursome fritters

Calling all garlic lovers! Have you ever tried growing your own? We’ve paired some helpful tips from our friends at BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine, with a tantalising fritter recipe, as seen at the BBC Good Food Show Summer 2022, to bring fantastic flavours to your winter table.

This December, why not try sowing garlic for a crop that makes a delicious seasoning to your cooking all year round. Plus, garlic takes up very little space and is an easy crop to grow. Make sure you always buy bulbs at the garden centre or order them from a seed supplier – don’t use bulbs from the supermarket. Ready to use your freshly grown garlic gloves in a delicious recipe? If you’re bored of roast and mash potatoes this winter, why not try making sweet potato and saltfish fritters to put a kick back into your dinner time. Find out more about the recipe below…

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How to grow

  • Plot garlic in a warm, sunny spot in well-drained soil that doesn’t get too wet in winter – dig in some home-made compost or well-rotted manure for best results
  • Sow in small pots, a large container or directly in the ground 15cm apart, leaving 30cm between rows
  • Break the bulbs into separate cloves and plant the large ones with the fat end downwards and the pointy end 2.5cm below the soil.

TIP! Lay bird netting or fleece over new plants until the shoots are 5cm tall to keep the birds at bay whilst your garlic grows.

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Caring for garlic

  • Water regularly in spring and early summer

  • Reduce watering once you see the foliage turning yellow – this is a sign that the bulbs are reaching maturity. 

  • Weed between the plants to reduce the competition for water and nutrients. 

  • Remove any flowers, or ‘scapes’ the plants produce – you can eat these in stir-fries.

Time to harvest!

When the leaves have turned yellow, gently lift out bulbs with a fork or trowel, taking care not to damage them. Leave the garlic to dry out for a couple of days, by laying it out on a table or tray, in full sun.

Once the bulbs are dry and feel papery to touch, you can either store them loose or plait their foliage to make a traditional string of bulbs. Store in a cool, dry place. Take care not to bruise the bulbs, as any damage can make them deteriorate in storage. 

Andi Oliver

White sweet potato and saltfish fritters, ackee cream and green seasoning oil

This recipe is from the BBC Good Food Show Summer 2022, as seen on the Big Kitchen at the BBC Good Food Show Summer with chef Andi Oliver. Serves 6-8.

Ingredients

For the ackee cream:
  • 165g canned sweetcorn
  • 180g canned ackee
  • 200ml oat cream
    For the green seasoning oil:
    • 1 handful of mixed herbs (such as sorrel leaves, chervil and tarragon)
    • 2 thyme sprigs
    • 10g Christmas bush or bay leaf
    • 1 small bunch of flat leaf parsley
    • 1 small bunch of coriander
    • 4 spring onions
    • 10 garlic gloves
    • 1 green chilli or 1 scotch bonnet chilli (depending on how hot you’d like it)
    • 6 little Caribbean seasoning peppers, or a mix of red, yellow and green mini sweet peppers
    • 1/2 white onion
    • 400ml cold pressed rapeseed oil
    For the fritters:
    • 250g white sweet potato, grated
    • 120g skinless and boneless saltfish, twice oiled, drained and rinsed
    • 110g grated white onions
    • 4 garlic cloves, finely grated
    • 15g finely grated ginger 
    • 1sp turmeric
    • 1tsp cumin seeds
    • 1tsp chilli flakes
    • 40g self-raising flour
    • 30g fine cornmeal
    • 1 thyme sprig, leaves only
    • 8g finely chopped chives
    • 500ml oil (vegetable/rapeseed/sunflower)
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    Method

    1.To make the seasoning oil, blend all the ingredients together, add seasoning, and blend until smooth. Sieve the mixture to create a green oil.

    2.In a bowl, combine the fritter ingredients (minus the oil) plus a big pinch of salt and pepper and mix thoroughly using your hands, squeezing the mixture so it all sticks together. Cover and set aside.

    3.Heat the oil in a wide pan to 150-170C. Test the heat of the oil by dropping a pinch of the potato mixture into it – if it rises and starts to golden quickly, it’s ready to fry. Slip 1 tbsp of mixture at a time into the hot oil until golden. Transfer the cooked fritters to a plate or bowl lined with kitchen paper to get rid of any excess oil.

    4.To make the ackee cream, gently toast sweetcorn until it’s slightly charred. Add the ackee and cook for 1-2mins and mix. Blitz the mixture with the oat cream in a blender until smooth and season.

    5.To serve, divide the ackee cream between six-eight shallow bowls or plates, top with two or three fritters and drizzle the seasoning oil over the top.