Less Noise, More Green: Curing Garlic

Monday, July 21, 2014

Curing Garlic

Curing Garlic, urban farming
Since returning from my trip to The Berkshires, my focus in the garden has been on preserving. This part of the growing/harvesting/preserving cycle is a lot of work but I get so much enjoyment from preserving what I grow.  Before I left, I knew harvesting the garlic was going to be on the 'to do' list when I got back. With the bottom few leaves already dry and the tops still green, the garlic was ready.


Garlic ready to harvest
Last October I planted soft neck garlic bulbs (no scapes for me) and have really ignored them, except to weed, until now.  Uncured garlic bulbs are tender and easy to damage. Instinct tells you to pull up the bulb by the leaves but this could bruise the bulbs or break the stems, which you need to hang your bulbs to cure. I use a pitch fork to gently remove the bulbs from the earth.

Harvestin garlic, urban farming


Once all the bulbs are harvested, I tie them into groups of ten or so and hang them in my garage. My soil is sandy loam and will easily brush off the bulbs when they are dry so I hang them 'as is"! My garage is a good place for curing because the bulbs are out of direct sunlight and we keep the door open so they get good air circulation. Some people lay them out flat in one layer on their porches. Depending on the amount of humidity, curing could take anywhere from three to eight weeks.They are done when the plants are completely dry and brown.



Curing garlic

If you plan on braiding your garlic, do that before the leaves are completely brown as that is when they will be easiest to weave. Once cured, you can cut off the roots and the leaves, if not weaving, and brush off the dirt. Save the best looking heads to plant for next year's crop and keep the rest in a cold, dry, dark spot.

Curing garlic

I have not done this, but apparently you can freeze whole unpeeled cloves. I think I will try this this year!

How do you cure your garlic and where do you store it once cured? I'm trying to decide on the best spot.

See you in the garden,

Sue

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3 comments:

  1. That's interesting. I heard several times that you should never ever freeze garlic because it gets mouldy. Some sources even state that refrigerating makes garlic go bad very fast. I have to admit I never tried it myself though.

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    1. I was surprised when I read that as well, I have never kept garlic in the fridge. Maybe freezing it as a whole bulb is key? I think I'll try it with one bulb to see what happens!

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    2. Let us know how it went. I'm sure curious to know.

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