Saturday, June 28, 2008

Garlic Harvest

Garlic planted in the fall overwinters and should be ready to harvest sometime in early summer. Yesterday we gathered 40 heads of garlic from a bed outside our front door. This is a softneck variety. Originally we had planned on planting hardneck garlic, which produces delicious scapes or flower stalks, but our favorite seed source--Southern Exposure Seed Exchange--ran out.

Garlic will last months if it is dried and "cured" in a dark and relatively cool place. The curing process typically means hanging the garlic so that each head has good air circulation around it. Some authorities recommend leaving the dirt on during the cure, then brushing it and any loose skin away.

However, all of our produce has to come into the house. We don't have a good work area other than the kitchen--not yet, anyway. So I clean the garlic before curing it. A thin jet of water from the garden hose quickly washes away the dirt and removes a layer of skin, revealing the pearly white heads underneath.

All this garlic should keep us for a long time. It may even be time to start looking for some good garlic recipes. An acquaintance, Susan Belsinger, wrote an entire book about garlic, "The Garlic Book: A Garland of Simple, Savory, Robust Recipes." Do you know it?


Meg Wolff said...

Your garlic looks great! I like this part of what you wrote, "We don't have a work area other than the kitchen--not yet, anyway."

grace said...

how long does the garlic have to cure?

Ed Bruske said...

Meg, it's always a joy to pull a full-formed head of garlic out of the ground. A miracle of the plant world....

Grace, at least a couple of weeks curing is recommended.