Grow a garlic crop and you will have a garlic crop. Then it's time to preserve the flavor and shelf life by curing garlic bulbs. There is nothing like freshly harvested garlic, but ripened cloves of garlic have the delicious taste you have come to expect from your vegetable garden.
There are several ways to cure garlic, each with their own benefits. How you cure might determine how you store garlic. How much space you have also affects the ripening process and the variety of garlic you have grown.
So, let's discuss the different ways to cure garlic and let's talk about everything you need to know while the garlic bulbs are drying. You might be wondering whether or not you want to grow garlic at all! In that case, before you start planting these garlic plants, read this guide to see which healing plan will work best for your situation.
Types of garlic bulbs
Curing garlic allows you to save it for later use. Source: Underground Bastard
There are two basic types of garlic: hardneck and softneck. The variety of garlic you've grown has a huge impact on how the garlic dries. So before we dive into the curing methods, let's cover the varieties of garlic first.
One of the ways to tell if you're growing hardneck garlic is to look at the stem. The stalk of a hardneck variety comes in a thick cylinder from the middle of the fully ripe onions. These are garlic scapes. Hardnecks have upright leaves and a very sturdy flower blooms from them. Hardnecks have one larger bulb of garlic, and each one has fewer cloves of garlic. The stiff stem goes all the way through the center of the bulb of garlic to the root zone.
Elephant garlic is a popular hardneck variety that many gardeners love to grow. This garlic plant has large bulbs with only 4 individual cloves. Many of the purple stripe garlic varieties are also of the hardneck type. One thing to keep in mind about hardnecks is that they don't last as long as softneck garlic and they don't need to be cured as long. Typically, hardneck varieties are only ripened for a few weeks because the neck is much drier than softneck varieties at the time of harvest.
Fresh softneck garlic is most commonly sold in grocery stores. Instead of scapes, these have green leaves that tip yellow or brown and fall when it's time to harvest garlic. There are many more segments per onion, and overall they will last much longer. Because their necks are more flexible, softnecks must be cured for long-term storage. The outer shell of the onion is also not as sturdy as hardneck types, and they have a smaller onion size overall.
Artichoke garlic is the most common commercially grown softneck variety. When fully ripe, they can have up to 20 cloves. They are grown for their viability, so it is possible to grow an entire crop successfully. This is the garlic we all know from the supermarket.
Before you decide to spend time and energy cure, make sure you have a strain that needs it. Some varieties of hardneck cannot be stored long enough for the curing process to be a viable option. After a few months, cloves can wither. Set these varieties aside for immediate use. Similarly, damaged cloves can mess up the cure for good cloves. You should sort these out before setting up your curing station.
Preparations for curing garlic
Hanging garlic to dry can be very effective. Source: Leeks & # 39; N & # 39; Bounds
To begin with, you need to know how and when to harvest garlic. You can schedule garlic harvesting because you know that garlic will be ready at a certain time of the year when it grows. When a third of the leaves turn yellow, it's time for softnecks to take out the digging fork and start harvesting garlic. Always check one onion before harvesting the rest. If you've tested one and found it isn't big enough when half of the leaves have yellowed, it's time to pull the rest.
Choose garlic that can be cured. Those that have damaged, soft cloves should be removed and used within a few hours to a few days. Any sprouting garlic should also be removed from your pickle bundle. Save them for your early summer or fall planting. All cloves that have garlic sprouts should either be eaten or later planted with garlic.
Prepare them to cure. Before curing, clean the roots of dirt and leave them intact along with the leaves. Keep them out of direct light when cleaning and harvesting. When moving and prepping, be careful not to crush or damage them. They are sensitive and bruised easily.
Methods of curing garlic
Softneck garlic is often ripened on such drying racks. Source: organic expert
There is nothing like hardened garlic that you have grown yourself. So let's talk about different methods of extending the life of your lightbulb. Then you can have your own garlic whenever you want! One thing to keep in mind with any method here is that none of your onions should be exposed to direct sunlight, and damaged onions shouldn't accompany your other garlic for curing.
Hang bundles on ceiling hooks or rafters to cure for two weeks. In this situation, you will need a space large enough to hold your grapes and good air circulation. This can take the form of a small electric fan or a larger box fan, but it should be turned on for the entire healing period. The temperature in your curing room should be around room temperature to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Maintain a relative humidity of 60 to 70%. More than that can lead to mold or take longer to cure (up to six weeks).
Once the papery skin as well as the leaves and roots are completely dry, they are ready for long-term storage. This method is best for those with a small crop and plenty of room to cure. When bundling garlic, keep in mind that smaller bundles will be fully hardened within about three weeks. Larger grapes get less air movement and take longer to harden.
Place the garlic horizontally on a rack to cure whole onions. The same conditions apply here as for vertical curing. Find a well-ventilated place in the 70 to 80 degree range. Provide moderate humidity and good air movement. When the onions are fully hardened, the paper sleeves are dry and brittle.
Unless you are growing garlic on a large scale, this may not be the best option for you. Racks are not widely used and often need to be built. They also take up a lot of space. If improperly constructed, they can block the air circulation required for curing. However, if you have access to a rack or the materials to create one, this is a viable curing option. However, this method takes up to 2 weeks, so the space will take up less time.
Hang each onion in a vertical net, fence, or wire mesh. This method is similar to the bundle hardening method, but it saves a lot of space. By using vertical nets, you condense the space on a level that can hang in a kitchen without direct light. This method can cure a lot more garlic than you could cure with the bundle method. As with the other modes, you need constant good air circulation and medium humidity.
That way you have garlic "walls". Leave your box or electric fan on for 3 to 4 weeks, when the onion wrappers are dry and brittle, they're done. Then prepare each lightbulb for long-term storage.
Braiding or trimming light bulbs
Once your garlic is set, either cut the leaves off the onions or braid them. Braiding leaves is the longest way to store garlic. It looks great and gives them a nice aesthetic that trimmed lightbulbs may not have. To braid them, cut off the roots and remove any remaining dirt from the onion. Then tie three tubers together with twine. Make a simple braid here, keep it simple with just three lightbulbs, or incorporate others for a more intricate tiered design. Then tie the end together with string and hang the onions in your kitchen where you can reach them for cooking.
Trimming lightbulbs has its advantages too. Not only is it a faster way to clean garlic for storage, but it also prevents the garlic skin from peeling off. Use sharp scissors or secateurs here and cut about an inch above the tip of the onion. Then keep each onion in mesh bags. Remove the largest bulbs for planting later, as small bulbs will produce smaller bulbs in later harvests. The biggest carnations are what you are looking for.
Stand-hardening hardneck garlic
Because of their stiff necks, hardneck garlic can sometimes be placed on its neck to harden. This method looks strange and is best done in an area with no wind and moderate humidity. Fan the leaves in all directions to give them some stability and stand on their stiff neck with the onion in the air. This method isn't the best for people with pets or children who might knock over the onions because you risk potential tubercle contusions, but it can be an effective solution if you don't have much to heal.
Hardneck varieties cannot be braided, but can still be hung up to dry. Source: stumptownpanda
Whether you are storing garlic for cooking or making a garlic spray to help you maintain your garden, your options are many. You can freeze garlic in freezer bags in almost any form outside of the skin. Peeled cloves, chopped, chopped: all of these can be frozen. You can even freeze the garlic cloves. All of these frozen garlic pieces have a shelf life of up to 6 months.
A delicious way to keep garlic is by preserving it in oil. You need to cook it first before storing garlic in oil as bacteria present on the skin can develop and cause botulism. Boil the peeled garlic in water for two minutes. Then drain and place in olive oil with the spices of your choice. They keep for two months at room temperature.
Garlic powder is enigmatic to those who do not know how to process it. But it's pretty easy as long as you have an automatic dehydrator nearby. Cut the peeled garlic into thin slices and place in a dehydrator at 150 degrees until it is brittle enough to be easily crushed in your hand. Then grind to the desired consistency. A mortar and pestle or a mixer is suitable for this. Keep it in an airtight container and you will have your garlic powder for up to two years.
frequently asked Questions
Standing hard neck garlic on his stiff neck can be one method of dehydrating him. Source: grongar
Q: Is Garlic Curing Necessary?
A: It isn't, but curing homemade garlic is a great way to preserve the flavor and shelf life of these onions.
Q: How long does it take garlic to heal?
A: Garlic takes at least two weeks to cure and up to six weeks for some types of softneck.
Q: Can you eat garlic right after it's harvested?
A: Indeed you can, but the taste is much lighter than properly hardened garlic. Hardneck varieties shouldn't be ripened that long and can be eaten straight away.
The green fingers behind this article: