I grow my own garlic. Why? I find the garlic in the supermarket to be rubbery, and to have a dull garlic taste. The garlic I grow is crisp and has a sharp, bright garlic taste. However, if you grow your own garlic, it is important that you cure and store it properly so you can use it through the winter. This is how I do it.
After I harvest my garlic, I knock most of the dirt off and hang the garlic in a shed that has lots of airflow. After 1 to 2 weeks, the stalks should be totally cry and the outer skin of the bulbs should be papery and dry. At this point it is cured and you can take it down to prepare for storage.
I start by lightly brushing the bulbs until the dirt and outer layer of dried skin comes off. Then, I cut the roots of the bottom of the bulb. I cut the stalks off leaving 2 inches of stalk to make breaking the cloves off easier.
After cleaning and trimming, I put the garlic in a burlap or mesh bag which allows airflow. Then, I label the bag so I know which variety is in it. This is important because I will be using some of this crop to plant next year’s crop. I need to know which variety I am planting.
I hang the bags in a cool, dry, dark cold room in my basement. Depending on the variety, I can store some garlic until June of the next year.
I grow five varieties of garlic. Why? Isn’t all garlic the same?
Garlic is like whiskey. All whiskeys taste like whiskey but not all whiskey tastes alike. I find some varieties of garlic are better for some dishes than others.
Music is a mostly white garlic that has a good earthy garlic taste. It has moderately large cloves that go well in stews and meat dishes.
This garlic gives the smallest of the cloves I grow but is the definition of good things coming in small packages. It has a hot garlic taste and I use this when I want the garlic taste to be up front like in garlic bread.
Rena isn’t the commercial name for this garlic. I don’t know the proper name for it. It was the first garlic I grew and was given to me by a friend. So, I named it after her.
It is a red, almost purple garlic that has classic fresh garlic taste. I can use it in any recipe but I tend to use it when I want garlic flavour without a hot edge.
This is the glamour girl of garlic. The main reason I grow it is to impress guests. Leave a bulb on your counter while you are cooking and the bright red colour makes your guests think you are using gourmet ingredients. They are right!
Russian red has a moderately strong garlic flavour with a bit of heat but not as much as Spanish Roja.
The Polish garlic has a slightly milder taste than my other varieties but is great in cream sauces or other dishes where garlic is not the lead taste.
It has another great advantage. It has huge cloves. So, if She Who Must Be Obeyed tells me I can only use one or two cloves of garlic in a dish, I can use Polish garlic and get a major garlic hit without having not obeyed. Sh. Don’t tell her.
The Old Fat Guy