Saturday, August 18, 2012

Cleaning and Storing the Garlic

I came home from work one day last week to find Matt and Jessa getting the garlic ready for storage. It had finished curing while Matt was in Boston, and I took it down and brought it inside, but hadn't gotten around to doing anything else with it.

Before being stored, cured garlic needs to have its roots trimmed off, and the dirty outside layers of their papery skin peeled off (technically, you could store it as is, but it's nicer and easier to use right away if you clean it first. You can also store it hung from the stems, but that takes up a lot more room).

The pile on the left are the biggest and nicest heads, to be set aside as next year's seed garlic.

Giving the bulbs crew cuts. 

Chesnok Red has these beautiful purple wrappers- this one was particularly bright. 

To test whether garlic has cured completely, you cut through the stem about an inch above the bulb. If no moisture comes out of the end when you squeeze it, it is fully cured. 

Garlic stores best where it is cool and dry, and it needs to have good circulation of air around it- otherwise it is susceptible to rot or mold. We are storing ours in old mesh onion bags, hung in the basement, where the temperature and humidity is much lower than anywhere else in the house.

 The small batch in the red bag on the right are the bulbs that got nicked by the turning fork when they were dug up, and had to have one or two cloves pulled out that were starting to rot as a result. Some of these we kept in the kitchen, and when we've used those we'll move to this red bag. The whole bulbs for use later on are the white bag, and then the seed garlic is up top, clearly labeled "Do not eat!" :) 

Feeling rich doesn't have much to do with money around here; it has more to do with seeing our pantry shelves looking like this, and knowing they'll get fuller before the rain starts to fall.

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