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Turkey Tracks: Preserving Garlic

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Turkey Tracks:  February 2, 2012

Preserving Garlic

Some of our garlic is starting to go soft and to mold–especially the really big bulbs.  It’s that time of year.

Last year, I jollied the bulbs along by putting them into the refrigerator.  I swore then that I’d take the time to clean them and do SOMETHING with them next year.  For those of you who don’t grow things, one plants garlic in the fall, it winters over in the ground, sprouts in the spring, grows all summer–giving you fresh garlic scapes just when you’re hungry for fresh garlic taste–and one harvests in the early fall when the plants start to turn brown.  After pulling up the bulbs, one dries them in a warm dry place, which makes the true, strong garlic taste develop.  After that, one cuts off the stalks and stores the bulbs.  They need cool, dry storage.

Also, EAT GARLIC!.  It has the most amazing chemical properties which can build up your immune system, drive off colds and infections, and keep you generally healthy.  It didn’t get the reputation for vampire protection for nothing!  If you start coming down with a cold, mash a fresh garlic clove into some butter, spread it over a cracker or something like that, and eat it.  Salt helps.  Three times a day.  You’ll notice that help is occurring almost right away.

So, this year, I brined a jar of garlic, which took care of about half of our crop.  You can see what I have left to do.  You can also see the dusky blue light outside my kitchen window

I used a recipe from NOURISHING TRADITIONS since it uses whey.

Brining Garlic

In a quart Mason jar, place the peeled cloves of about 12 heads of garlic.  (If you roll them under your hands or in a towel, the cloves break free easily–all except for the pesky little ones.)

Add 2 teaspoons of dried oregano (I used a savory herb mixture with a Mediterranean base), 2 teaspoons sea salt, 2 Tablespoons of whey.  If you don’t have whey (you drip it out of yogurt), use another 2 teaspoons of sea salt.  Add water to cover, but leave a good inch free at the top.  You’ll notice I have my jar sitting in a saucer to catch drips if the fermentation process gets going in earnest and bubbles start going over the top.

Leave the jar on the counter for about three days, turning it upside down and shaking it a few times a day to distribute the juices.  Then, put it in a cool place.

You can use the garlic like fresh.  The juice is great in salad dressings.  Or, I suspect, a little would jive up soups.

I’m also going to make some GARLIC ELIXIR–from a recipe in WELL BEING JOURNAL, Jan/Feb 2012.  They took it from Doug Oster’s TOMATOES, GARLIC, BASIL:  THE SIMPLE PLEASURES OF GROWING AND COOKING YOUR GARDEN’S MOST VERSATILE VEGGIES.  Sounds like a good book.

Garlic Elixir

1 cup of garlic cloves, peeled

1/4 cup parsley

1 teaspoon salt (sea salt please)

1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar

Olive oil (1/2 to 1 cup)

1 tsp. black pepper

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

optional:  chopped black olives or capers to taste

Process garlic and parsley in a blender until chopped fine– put optional ingredients in first before blending the garlic and parley if using.  Place in a mixing bowl.  Add salt, vinegar, pepper and lemon juice, stir in olive oil.  Place in a glass jar and cover with thin layer of olive oil.  Will store in refrigerator for up to a month.

Wow!  I’m guessing some of that added to salad dressing would make some fabulous salad dressing.  Wonder if one could freeze it…

Push the cloves do


Turkey Tracks: Pulling the Garlic

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Turkey Tracks:  August 15, 2011

Pulling the Garlic

Garlic gets planted in the fall.  It’s a miracle to me that over the winter and the summer, one tiny clove grows into a whole bulb AND gives us a garlic scape just when the stored garlic is running out or has molded sometime in June.

I pulled our garlic Saturday.  It was a beautiful, sunshiny day, and I sat on the grass to trim off the bulbs and put the into a box.  They’re now in a single layer in three boxes in the garage attic, curing.  Soon the garage will smell like garlic.

Garlic is always listed as an immune system booster, so we eat LOTS of garlic.  It’s no accident that it can ward off a vampire since it is so powerful a protector of human health.

Here’s what a year’s supply of garlic for two people who have lots of guests looks like:

Here’s a close-up.  You can see that the stalks are quite spent now.  And you can see the flush of red under the coating of mud on the Russian Red bulbs.

Here’s a box full of fall and winter riches!

Garlic is super easy to grow and doesn’t take much space.  I amend my garden soil with chicken bedding, my kitchen compost, and worm castings in the fall.  In the spring I add whatever kitchen compost I’ve accumulated over the winter.  I cover my garden beds with straw, which breaks down over the winter, which adds more compost.  And, I add ground seaweed meal and azomite.  Garlic really likes azomite, and I do think it helps the garlic not to mold as winter stretches into early spring.

Here’s a picture of the size of the garlic bed this year.  It’s not large, as you can see.  It’s just that bare rectangle bounded by the kale and rock at the top, the La Ratte potatoes on the left, and the celery and lettuce below.

And, here’s a picture of the black, rich soil the worms make for us.  This batch is two years worth since we somehow didn’t empty the bin last fall.  I recover a batch of the worms to start again; the rest stay in the soil.  Or, go into the chickens, who have been working the garden since I turned them loose the other day.  The egg shells will get crushed up, and they add calcium back into the soil.

Speaking of La Ratte fingerling potatoes, I grabbled some for Saturday night dinner.  “Grabbled” is just a fancy word for digging some new potatoes before the green tops start showing yellow and falling over.  Here’s what they look like:

The one vine had about a dozen potatoes under it.  I boiled them in salted water, and they were heavenly:  nutty, buttery, and altogether wonderful.   We had them with grilled New  York strip steaks, Haricot Verte green beans from the garden, and a big, fresh salad with our lettuce, our green onions, and the first of the cukes and tomatoes we’re now getting–thanks to our CSA, Hope’s Edge.

Written by louisaenright

August 15, 2011 at 6:34 pm