Yesterday we had the kids harvest all the garlic and weed the back-most garden. Not as punishment for anything, but because it needed doing and Bill and I have been working on the house.
So here's our haul:
There were four or five other heads of garlic we'd picked a few days earlier, to make room for the squash or a tomato plant or something, so those, plus all this, comes to about fifty heads or bulbs of garlic. YAY, GARLIC! I laid them all out on an overturned plastic sled in the sun to dry for a while. After that I was able to knock off any dirt still clinging to them.
We're giving a couple to my dad to plant in the fall, and a couple to a friend of ours, and we'll save some for ourselves to plant, and then the rest will be for cooking.
I might take some of them and roast them, puree them with olive oil and then freeze the puree in ice cube trays. I love having roasted garlic on hand. So yummy mixed into just about anything - a couple cubes added to whatever pasta sauce I'm making, or blended with herbs and tossed with sliced, roasted potatoes, or added to the pan when I'm making gravy.
We'd cut and cooked most of the garlic scapes - the seed pods that grow from the garlic plant - but these two were late bloomers, so I just let them go - and we've got these mini little garlic bulbs now.
The next step in the whole garlic process was to let them cure. Basically what's happening here is the outer layers of skin dry out. This protects the inner layers from mold and allows you to keep them a nice, long time (if you don't use them up quickly).
You need to have good air flow around all the garlic, otherwise you could have areas that remain damp and are more prone to mildew and rotting.
I'd seen something online that someone had built for this purpose - two long pieces of wood spaced maybe an inch apart and held together somehow (I'm so technical here, I know) and you just hang the garlic in the space so the head rests on the wood and the stalk hangs below. Air circulates, the garlic dries, and yee-ha, you're all set.
I didn't feel like building one like that, so I poked around in the garage to see what I could find that would serve the same purpose.
So what you see in the images below is the mattress support from one of the kids' cribs. It's sitting on an old ironing board. I've used tape to make the spaces in the mattress support narrower, and then I poked the garlic through. I spaced the garlic so that no bulbs were touching each other. And that's it. Pretty simple, right?