Thursday, August 25, 2011

Plant Garlic Now & Harvest Next Summer

Mmm . . . I love garlic; the taste, the smell, the health benefits. Growing your own is so very, very easy and fresh garlic beats dehydrated any day!

Simply buy a bulb or two of garlic. Decide where you want to plant it and work up the soil. Separate into individual cloves and plant with the root side down just like you would an onion set; about two inches deep.

Next year, after it has gone to seed, the tops will begin to dry out. When they are pretty uniformly dry, gently pull it out of the ground (you may want to wait until after a rain if your soil is very hard). Leaving the blades intact, gather it in bunches and hang it up to dry well. 

Once the bulbs are pretty dry and the skins on them are papery, it is ready to use. Cut off the dried out tops and peel off the loose outer layers of skins. Store in a cool, dry place with good ventilation and use as desired. 

*A hint for using fresh garlic in your cooking: if you add it toward the end of cooking in soups, stews, etc., you will get a stronger garlic flavor in the dish . . . but if you add it early on, that heady aroma will tantalize your taste buds in anticipation of your next meal.

I always preserve a some of it (peeled of course) in a jar of olive oil which I keep in the fridge. Two or three bulbs of garlic planted and then harvested should yield enough for most of your cooking over the next year.

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