Thursday, September 24, 2009

Curing Garlic

I grew some spring garlic this year. Normally, garlic is grown in the fall. It will hibernate over the winter and grow in the spring. However, I planted my garlic this spring, and it turned out just fine.

There are three types of garlic: stiffneck, softneck, and elephant garlic. Stiffneck garlic is much more temperamental than softneck garlic. It has a central stem, while the other types are all throughout the clove. Also, stiffneck garlic produces scapes that are edible when they are young and tender. Stiffneck garlic is also harder to find, though it stores much longer than softneck. Softneck garlic is normally the commercial garlic found in stores and as the seed-cloves. It is the kind that I planted this year. Interestingly, elephant garlic is not really garlic, but it is a member of the leek family.

Both uncured and cured garlic are edible. Curing garlic is like drying it. Uncured garlic is fresh out of the garden. It must stay in the refrigerator, while the cured garlic does not need to be refrigerated.

When you cure garlic, you should make sure that air will be able to circulate around the garlic. A good way to ensure that it will circulate under the garlic, is to get a screen to keep it off the ground. I made sure that the garlic would be in a dry place so it would not draw moisture.

To cure my garlic, Ben and I made a wooden frame out of some planks. We made some feet for it out of blocks of wood. (Kathie had a good time with us!)
For a screen, we stapled chicken wire to the frame.
I dug the garlic, and shook out some dirt from the roots.
Then, I immediately placed the garlic on the screen. I removed the screen out of the sunlight into our garage.
The garlic should cure for 2-4 weeks, or until the skin on the outside is papery and dry.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, fancy! :)That looks like a fun sibling project.

    Before I read your post, I didn't know whether the types I'd planted last year were stiff or softnecks, so you spurred me to do a little research. I think I have one of each: California White (softneck, commercially common) and Italian Purple (hardneck), which I bought at the farmer's market. They both seem to be storing well so far, and I hope to plant some of what I harvested again, any day now!