Country Living Series

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Garlic, start to finish

Last fall, I planted 150 gloves of garlic in the garlic boat, as I do every autumn.


I mulched it with straw for the winter.


Garlic grows very well here, and each year I get an excellent harvest. This year was no exception.


A few days ago, I finally got around to pulling the garlic.


The soil is soft and friable, and it took no time at all to pull everything -- maybe half an hour.


I stacked it all in a blue tub and toted it off to the shady barn...


...where I spread it out in a rough circle to dry for a few days.


Yesterday morning I went out and trimmed the bulbs from the stems.


I ended up with a bucket of garlic and a pile of stems (which went on the compost pile).


Normally peeling the garlic takes me a few days, but for whatever reason I got almost all of it done yesterday. It's kinda like doing a puzzle -- once you start, it's hard to stop.


Many of the cloves were huge, with the biggest ones approaching eggs in size.



These large cloves are characteristic of German porcelain-neck garlic. Love the stuff.

I held back 150 cloves for planting later in the fall. My plan was to mince and can the rest. Since we don't have a root cellar, this is my preferred method for preserving garlic.

The peeled garlic came to almost 11.5 lbs.


I chopped it...


...then parboiled it for about 15 minutes. I drained the garlic and reserved the cook water.


I filled 15 pint jars with the mince...


...then topped the jars with garlic water.


Wiping the rims (and checking for nicks).


Scalding the Tattler lids and gaskets.


Unprocessed, the garlic is a creamy white. After processing (depending on whatever minerals might be in the water), canned minced garlic can turn some shocking colors -- pink or blue or green. It's always a surprise. (The color change is harmless.)


Into the canner.


It was time to reapply a thin coat of petroleum jelly to the canner lid (to lubricate the metal-to-metal seal peculiar to All American canners).


For our elevation, I process at 13 lbs. pressure. For minced garlic, I leave it in 25 minutes (for pints).


Out of the canner. Rather to my surprise, the garlic hardly changed color at all, to a light brown. (The darker jars are in the shadow of the canner.)


The house smells overpoweringly of garlic right now, but that's okay. The year's harvest is done.

15 comments:

  1. I have only ever had a vague notion of what to do and how to grow garlic.

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    Replies
    1. Easy peasy. Plant in the fall, mulch for the winter, weed in the spring, harvest in the summer.

      - Patrice

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  2. I love this! You are an inspiration.

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  3. My granddaughter, age four, wanted to fix supper for her mommy and daddy. So, we made stuffed pasta shells. (Her favorite.) When I got the jar of minced garlic, she smelled it and said, “Mmm! That smells good!” I think she would love the smell of your house.

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  4. What a beautiful harvest! What is your elevation?

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  5. No vampires at your home !

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  6. Garlic - The one thing that has never failed my garden since 1992.

    Pickled garlic is a treat.

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  7. What a wonderful harvest! You do have good luck with garlic.

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  8. Keeping the stems on and braiding them tightly after harvesting the garlic will keep oxygen away from the cloves. That’s the way we keep our garlic all year long in the south of France. Same applies to onions :)

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  9. I've never thought of canning garlic. How do you measure it out later in recipes? I'm guessing perhaps a tsp per clove called for or do you need more to get the same flavor?

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    Replies
    1. Ha. I dump it in without measuring. The flavor of canned garlic is not as intense as fresh, and because we have so much minced garlic canned up, I am generous in recipes. And I mean GENEROUS.

      - Patrice

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  10. Pat what do you do to maintain your garlic boats soil? Compost? Chicken manure? A cute raised bed BTW.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, we recycled an old wooden rowboat we bought for $5 many years ago. We maintain the garden beds with compost -- dump a fresh load on every couple of years.

      - Patrice

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  11. That looks excellent! How long will it keep for and do you have to keep it refrigerated the way it's recommended when the garlic is in oil?

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