Monday, 20 July 2015

Cure & Store Garlic

Curing garlic (and/or onions)...

Cure for 3 to 4 weeks in a shady spot with really great air circulation.

This fabulous open shed is just perfect for curing all kinds of veggies, from garlic and onions to pumpkins and squash.

Carports also work well for curing, or barns or garages, too. If you do not have great air circulation, add a fan to move the air around to prevent the growth of black mould on your bulbs.

Never cure your veggies on bare concrete floors, place down some newsprint or cardboard first.   

Lay out the garlic (or onions) with tops and all still attached, on wooden slat tables. Space them out well to provide great air flow between bulbs. Don't forget to label your varieties!

You can also hang them from the rafters in bundles of 6 or 8 staggered bulbs - do not hang too many per bundle or you compromise the air flow.  Onions and soft neck garlic can be braided.

For information on softneck garlic, see HERE!

So now that the curing process is complete... what to do? 

With all the dry heat we have had this year, your garlic has likely cured really nicely, is ready to be trimmed up and brought into your pantry.

Trim off the tops to about 1/2 inch. Leave them longer if you are going to be using them as seed stock for fall so that you can use the stem as a crank to easily open the bulb.

Rub off some of the wrappers to clean them up to that lovely white (or pink/red) colour. Do not rub off too many skins so that the cloves are exposed!

Trim off the beard (aka roots) nice and short with your pruners, to about 1/4 of an inch.

If you have some bulbs that have not dried quite as well, or as fast, as the others, they will be susceptible to mould. These guys will feel damp or moist to the touch. 

This variety that I grew, Kostyn's Red Russian, was still moist even after all these weeks in the curing shed. I cleaned them up, took off an extra layer of wrapping, and then vented the ones that were really moist.

To vent your garlic, tear a wee opening at the top of the bulb which allows all the moisture to escape. Perhaps does not look quite as beautiful as the lovely white wrapped bulbs, but saves it from spoiling. Is perfectly edible still or save till fall for planting.

Pick out the larger bulbs for use as seed stock in fall for large cloves will yield large bulbs.
Store them in a brown paper bag, a box, a mesh bag, anything that stays dry and breathes. Place in a shady, cool spot till planting time in late September.

Enjoy the rest of your harvest, use for cooking, pickling, roasting, salsa and pesto...  or dry to make your own garlic salt or garlic powder.

Your well cured garlic should keep for 5 to 8 months in a pantry or closet, any spot with good air flow but no direct sunlight. Some varieties store better than others, but you can count on about 6 months for most hardnecks. 

 Holy smokes, look what I found! 
A garlic bulb that was not harvested last year, turned into this monster garlic this year!
This is not the recommended planting/growing method ; ) 

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