Sunday, July 10, 2011

Garlic harvesting

We have been busy watching the garlic and deciding if we should harvest or leave in a bit longer.   The garlic was planted back in October, 2010 and the following July is harvest time.   Depending on the weather the garlic lets you know when it is ready to be harvested ... kinda.   The leaves on the softneck garlic will start to yellow and die down first; the hardneck garlic usually a week or two later.   When there are still 5-6 green leaves still remaining is the time to harvest.    Some garlic we have harvested and some we still have remaining in the ground.
Here is Chet's Italian which is a softneck and they grew very well this year.   Softneck garlic has more cloves within each head although they are smaller than the hardneck varieties.   Softneck will also store 6-9 months whereas the hardneck will only store for up to 6 months.   The hardnecks do have larger cloves and the flavor is more robust than the softneck.
A nice harvest of Chesnok Red hardnecks.   The hardnecks send up a stalk or scape and this can be cut and added to your favorite dishes.   I did preserve several pints and quarts to relish during the coming months and also to give as gifts.   The recipe for canning the garlic scapes is as follows -

1 pound or more of scapes, whole
3 cups vinegar
5 cups water
1/4 cup kosher salt
Fresh basil leaves
Chili flakes (optional)

Boil the water, vinegar and salt solution.  Pack hot jars with whole scapes, 1 fresh basil leaf and a pinch of the chili flakes and then the brine.  Put on the lids, place in hot water canner and boil for 45 minutes.  Leave at least 2 weeks before serving for best flavor.   Makes 5 pint jars.
Garlic scapes really are a fun and unique gift to bestow on a friend.  Soon all the garlic for the 2010 season will be harvested and set to cure for a month.   This year we have 2 softneck varieties and 3 hardnecks.

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