Curing and storing garlic
dug the rest of the garlic on Monday and hung it under the eaves to
dry. I can honestly tell you that there's more garlic beside our
front door than I've ever seen in one spot in my life!
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Learning from last
year's drying fiasco, we hung up the garlic in
small clumps immediately after digging. This photo shows some of last
week's garlic ---
notice how it's already drying up nicely due to the air movement around
the exposed bulbs and leaves. If we had room indoors, we could
also have spread the plants out in a single layer on screens to dry.
Either way, the bulbs
will be thoroughly cured and ready to move to storage two weeks after
harvest. At that point, the garlic will have sucked all of the
nutrients out of the leaves and roots, so it's safe to cut off the
excess plant material. We store our garlic in mesh bags we save
from buying winter oranges.
year's garlic is still lingering on our kitchen shelf, proving that it
is quite possible to eat your own garlic for an entire year without any
special storage area. The trick for preventing your garlic from
sprouting is counter-intuitive --- keep it warm. Once garlic has
been cooled and then re-warmed, the plant thinks it has survived a
winter and starts to grow. Keep the heads warm (but not hot) and
they'll linger in an eternal summer.
One last note on garlic
curing and storing --- be sure to pull out the biggest heads for next
year's planting. I'm pretty sure that the few small heads mixed
in with our many large heads were due to me not being vigilant enough
about planting only the biggest cloves from the biggest heads last
fall. Even though you might want to brag by giving away those
beautiful big heads to your friends and family, just think how much
more you'll get to brag next year when every one of your garlic heads
is that size!