Oh, that miracle clove!
Not only does garlic taste good,
it cures baldness and tennis elbow, too.
- Lauri Burrows Grad
Los Angeles Magazine
Methinks Ms. Grad may have been enjoying a glass or two of a good vino while waxing poetically about garlic!
Nonetheless, I wholeheartedly agree that garlic tastes good and is also nutritionally super-good for us. (Haven't seen a vampire around here in ages.) I grow garlic and it's much enjoyed and used regularly in my cooking.
'Round about the middle of August I took my trusty spade out into the garden and harvested this year's crop. Sad to say, it was not as plentiful as in years past, but the bulbs that did grow were large. Cause of less than a bountiful harvest? Too much moisture? Not enough heat at the right time? I don't know.
I hung the bulbs with stalks still attached in our small wood shed to cure. All our rain and humidity have, no doubt, not provided the best conditions for curing, but I decided today I needed to clean and store the bulbs for winter.
I don't know how commercial garlic producers get their bulbs to look so white and clean. Mine certainly never do.
There were 49 bulbs to process, but my original harvest was 60, if I remember correctly. I must confess to "stealing" several bulbs during the curing process and encouraging Chicken Mama to do the same. The bulk of the ones I pilfered went into jars of my Minnesota Kimchi I've made and squirreled away in the spare refrigerator for our winter's supply.
The reason I'm thinking curing conditions weren't ideal this year is because I found 13 bulbs that aren't in good storing condition as shown in the basket on the right in the picture above. (Undesirable growing conditions? I didn't dig them at the correct time? Too much humidity during curing time? The garlic gods have something against me?) The cloves have separated and they're lacking adequate layers of "skin" to cover the bulbs properly. These will have to be used first before the other 36 that seem to be of good keeping quality.
I've ordered more garlic to plant this fall as I'm sure the harvest from this year won't be enough to provide us with an adequate supply over winter let alone allow me to use some of the bulbs to plant this fall as a future crop.
The up side is that nearly all the bulbs are a very good size with many lovely cloves, too. Am I overjoyed with the garlic harvest? Not so much, but at the same time very grateful for what I did get. Next year will be better.