Gardening: Harvesting Garlic
I harvested my garlic yesterday, about 2 or 3 weeks late. But that’s the nice thing about garlic, it’s not really that picky about when it gets ripped out of the ground. Due to a busy schedule this month, I didn’t get the chance to build my “no watering wall” around my garlic to prevent my sprinkler system from spraying my garlic plants. I think this contributed to my garlic heads being a bit smaller this year, due to the plants still sending energy to the leaves due to the watering. But I’m sure they will taste delicious all the same, and were free and organic. Nice!
Last year, I planted Early Italian Purple Grape, as well as Spanish Roja, and saved a couple heads of each for growing this year. Both are exceptional. The Spanish Roja has a stronger, more burning garlic flavor, but is not nearly as large as the Early Italian. The Spanish Roja is a hardneck variety, and the Early Italian a softneck variety. I think I prefer the Early Italian due to its size, easy to peel skin, and great garlic flavor.
The following was taken from a previous post, How to Plant and Grow Garlic, but has some new photos of the harvesting process.
When to Harvest Garlic
Harvest time can vary depending upon your climate. But for most, early to mid July seems to be the time to dig up the plants. The plants themselves will tell you when it’s time to harvest, as several of the leaves will begin to brown and dry. You can also dig a little around the base of the plant to look at the head to see if there are clearly defined cloves on the underground head.
Prior to harvesting, you should stop watering the plants completely. This will force the leaves to brown more, and will focus all the plant’s energy on the underground head.
How to Harvest and Store Garlic
Harvest garlic by digging the plant up as you gently pull up on the stalk. If you don’t dig as you pull, you run the risk of breaking the entire stalk off the garlic head, exposing the raw garlic and getting dirt into it. But be careful as you dig so that you do not accidentally cut into the garlic head.
Once dug up, shake off any excess dirt, trim the roots, and rinse clean with water.
You can leave them in the sun to dry for a day or so, or can promptly tie into braids or bundles and hang in your garage or other dry place out of the sun (the sun will actually rot the garlic if exposed for long). Garlic will store in this way all throughout the winter, and likely clear through the end of spring. I love going out in the garage and cutting a head off the tied bundles whenever I need one. It’s cool to show off with too.
When to Eat Garlic After Harvesting
The odd thing about garlic is that it tastes awful when first harvested. Seriously, not good eats in any way. Garlic needs time to dry and have it’s sugar content increase. You’ll need at least 30 days, but I’ve found that it still has a funk up to about 60 days after harvest. Don’t rush this. I know it’s tempting after all the fun growing, but give it time and you will enjoy your garlic efforts exponentially more.
The Bald Gourmet loves his organic gourmet garden, and is especially fond of growing aromatic garlic.
I love hearing from my readers, so please go ahead and leave a comment!
- TIP OF THE DAY: Baby Purple Artichokes (Fiesole) - THE NIBBLE Blog on How to Clean and Prepare Artichokes to Cook
- The Bald Gourmet on Recipe: Best Home Canned Thick and Chunky Salsa
- Michelle on Recipe: Best Home Canned Thick and Chunky Salsa
- jeramy on Review: Firehouse Subs
- The Bald Gourmet on What are Elderberries?