Monday, May 28, 2012

Garlic Harvesting and Curing

We harvested our first ever garlic crop this past week!

We have been growing this garlic since last fall. Although the garlic heads turned out to be smaller than we had hoped, I am still super excited to at least have some home-grown garlic to cook with. Mmmm....

After harvesting, it is important to dry or cure the garlic so that it will last for several months. We hung the garlic up for a few days to dry first keeping the stems on the bulbs, then I very gently cleaned as much dirt off as I could and trimmed with end roots from each bulb.

After this was done we decided the best place that was cool and dry enough to cure it for 3-4 weeks would be our home office with the ceiling fan going. We thought about hanging it out on the screened in porch for ventilation, but decided temperature may get a little too hot. After the garlic is thoroughly dry and the outer skin wrinkled, you can braid the garlic using the stems. We hope to hang our garlic braid up in the pantry or somewhere else in our kitchen to pluck off cloves as we need them to use the rest of the year.

Also, did you know that the long green stems or "leaves" of the garlic bulb can actually be harvested  and eaten rather than discarded? They have a delicious flavor, almost similar to a green onion but with a strong garlicky punch.

We sampled the green tops with a few of our garlic plants early on before they began to turn brown and the leaves work well in dishes like salads, sauteed with onions for meats or in stir fry, or diced and used as a garnish. It is surprisingly very yummy!

Has anyone else tried this before?

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