One of the greatest reasons to garden for our family (beside keeping fit with the exercise and knowing what we produce is chemical-free) is growing our own medicine. Garlic is as powerful as penicillin without the side effects. Garlic is probably at the top of the “Must- Have-On-Hand” list followed by elderberries.
Harvesting garlic is easy work and takes just minutes. When the tops have dried and turned mostly/partly brown, a firm but gentle upward pull will remove them from the soil. From this point on, do not wet them.
Place the entire garlic plant (bulb, roots and stalk) in a cool, dry place. Lay them out on a board or use twine to tie the garlic in bunches and hang them up. Either way, good air circulation is a must to prevent molding.
Allow the garlic to dry for 2 to 3 weeks. Gently rub with gloved hands or a soft brush to remove any dirt from the bulb. The outer layer of the wrapper can be removed for further cleaning – but try not to remove much more than that as it is what helps them to stay moist and fresh inside.
The outer wrapper will become like paper when the garlic is dry. At this time you can trim the roots to a half inch.
~For braiding (you must plant a soft-neck variety), leave the stalks intact. To store loose garlic trim stalks to within an inch or two of the bulb. If it is in a cool, dry place, bulbs should stay fresh for several months.
~Save some of your biggest bulbs for planting again in late September. That fall planting will be harvested the next summer in June. See my post on planting.
~Use only undamaged bulbs to store. When there is damage, use it right away.
~Oh, BTW, you can use a garlic press to remove the peeling and extract the pulp all at once. This would be ideal for soups, stews, and roasts where you want intense garlic flavor.
“Since garlic then hath powers to save from death,
Bear with it though it makes unsavory breath.”
~Salerno (Italy) Regimen of Health (12th century)
Thanks for reading!