Garlic is a very healthy and tasty vegetable, it can be grown quite simply in the garden, as you can find explained in the cultivation guide. The "head of garlic" Is a set of cloves, each can be replanted to generate new plants, or used in the kitchen for consumption.
In the recipes, garlic it is used very often as a flavoring: its marked taste is characteristic and if you eat it raw it risks returning to the breath, a characteristic for which it is often feared. Although not very digestible, it is still very healthy with beneficial effects in particular on blood pressure.
The quantity of garlic to be included in each recipe is moderate: a few cloves are enough to give flavor, for this reason it is possible to grow enough bulbs in a few square meters of garden to satisfy the annual consumption of the family, provided that store the garlic heads properly. To make them last a long time and be able to keep them without rot or shoots, let's see what are the very simple precautions to keep in mind, in particular let's see what is the ideal place to keep this vegetable.
How long does the garlic last
Generally in a family garden it is carried out only one garlic harvest per year, in a variable period in relation to the climate and the time of sowing, since the cloves can be planted from autumn until the beginning of spring.
Usually the bulbs are picked in the summertime. Garlic is one of the longest-lived garden products, in the pantry or in the cellar preserve it for months, even going so far as to keep it at times even until the new harvest the following year. This long shelf life of the vegetables is bound to some precautions: drying of the heads is important, in addition to the temperature and humidity of the place where they are stored.
Not all variety of garlic they lend themselves to long storage: the classic white garlic lasts a long time, while the prizedpink garlic and red garlic they perish more quickly.
Conservation begins with harvesting
If we want the garlic to be truly preserved, we must harvest it at the right time: the cloves removed from the ground too early have a high amount of water and do not lend themselves to being kept for a long period. The bulbs are picked when the plant dries up, so just look at the aerial part of the vegetable to decide whether to harvest or wait.
Another important precaution is to choose a day with a favorable climate to carry out the harvesting work: let's not forget that the cloves are underground, they must not be taken when the soil is muddy and very humid. Fortunately, in summer, one or two days of sunshine are usually enough to dry out the soil.
After harvesting, we carefully clean the garlic head from the earth, protecting the cloves from any microorganisms present in the soil.
Dry the heads
Once the garlic heads have been picked and cleaned, they must be dried: to preserve them, it is important that they lose more water before being stored. In this regard, as per peasant tradition, the bulbs are tied together in braids or crowns, very beautiful and decorative. They are the ones we also see in folklore and vampire-related movies.
The braids obtained or even the simple heads, should be hung in a ventilated and dry place, in which to leave them for at least a week. The porches of the farmhouses are generally perfect places for this type of drying.
Where and how to store the bulbs
The correct temperature is 8/10 degrees. A good place can be the cellar, if not too humid, or an outdoor furniture during the winter season. If we have no alternatives, we will have to keep the garlic in the pantry, even if the internal temperature of the house is a little too high and therefore not ideal.
If they don't hang your best bet is to put the heads in plastic crates held raised, so that the air circulates all around and there is the greatest recirculation.
Garlic bulbs keep well if kept whole, you absolutely must not peel them or shell the cloves.
Store to replant
The garlic cloves can also be kept as propagation material, or to keep to replant them and start a new cultivation of this vegetable the following year.
The storage method is the same as for garlic kept for consumption, you can then read our guide on how to plant the cloves in the ground, where you will find all the indications of periods, distances and sowing methods.
Methods for keeping garlic longer
If the 6/8 months of storage of white garlic are not enough, or when we cultivate varieties with a shorter duration, we can fall back on other methods processing, which allow the vegetable to be kept for a longer period of time. The three possibilities we have are: freezing, drying completely or making the wedges in oil.
For the freezing just have a freezer available, the advice is to freeze the already peeled and maybe even crushed wedges: it will be much easier to use them in the kitchen when needed.
The drying we can do it in ventilated oven at the minimum of the allowed temperature, keeping a gap for opening the door. Qualitatively better results are obtained by having a dryer available. To completely dry the garlic we must thinly slice the wedges, so that the process is faster.
Garlic in oil it is a tasty alternative, we talked about it in the recipes of Orto Da Coltivare, you can read the recipe for wedges in oil to find out how to prepare them safely. The preserves are very simple to prepare, the use of vinegar is important to avoid Botox and the sterilization of the jars.