Mid-winter, when it was time to plant the garlic, I had no idea where we were going to be living at harvest time.
So I covered all my bases and planted a full complement of garlic at the old house and at the new house.
Last week I harvested the garlic from both properties. As I expected, the garlic at the new house grew poorly in the clay and rock, but it did grow and is perfectly acceptable. The garlic at the old house had a spectacular growing year—nearly every head is large and plump.
So, knowing we struggle to finish off a normal year’s garlic harvest before it sprouts and gets nasty, I made an effort to preserve a few heads. Well, thirty-two heads, to be exact.
First, I filled the dehydrator with thinly sliced garlic and dried 20 heads. I’ve dried garlic before, and we appreciate the ease of tossing a few flakes into the mortar and pestle and grinding them up. Twenty heads of garlic dries down to less than a pint jar full of flakes—uninspiring until you think about how concentrated the garlic flavour is in that jar!
Then I tried something new—I pickled 12 heads. According to the recipe I used, the cloves can be used just like fresh garlic, and when you finish off a jar, the pickling liquid makes a great flavoured vinegar for things like salad dressings. They’re quite pretty in their little jars, and I look forward to trying them long about August when the fresh garlic is sprouting. Again, twelve heads looks like nothing when peeled and packed into jars, but with 32 heads preserved and another three dozen hanging braided in the kitchen, I still have a whole bunch to give away.
So if you’re looking for vampires, go somewhere else. They’ll be staying far away from my house for a long time.