Drying garlic for long-term preservation

Garlic may be grown and harvested. The garlic bulbs should then be dried to maintain their flavor and shelf life. Nothing surpasses freshly picked garlic, yet dried garlic cloves offer the same delicious flavor as fresh garlic.

Garlic may be processed in a variety of methods, each with its own set of advantages. The manner in which garlic is dried might influence how it is stored. The amount of space you have available, as well as the sort of garlic you have produced, will all have an impact on the drying process.

So let’s go through how to care for garlic and all you need to know about drying garlic bulbs. You may be thinking if you should plant garlic at all! In such a case, read this instruction before planting your garlic plants to determine which drying cycle is ideal for you.

Garlic bulb varieties

Garlic comes in two varieties: hard neck and soft neck. The type of garlic you plant has a significant influence on how it dries. So, before we go into drying methods, let’s speak about the many sorts of garlic.

  • Hardneck Garlic

Examining the stalk is one method to detect if you’re cultivating hardy garlic. When completely grown, the stem of a hardy variety emerges from the middle of the bulbs in the form of a thick cylinder. The garlic stalk is shown here. The leaves of the hard neck type are straight and produce a large bloom. The garlic bulb is bigger, and there are fewer cloves. The garlic bulb’s inflexible stem travels through the middle to the root region.

Elephant garlic is a hard-neck type that many gardeners like growing. This garlic plant produces big bulbs with just four cloves. Many types of purple-necked garlic are also hardy. It should be noted that hard neck garlic has a lower shelf life and requires less drying than soft neck garlic. Because the neck of hard-necked cultivars is significantly drier at harvest than soft-necked kinds, they are often cured for only a few weeks.

  • Garlic with soft heads

Fresh garlic of the soft neck form is most commonly seen in supermarkets. Instead of stems, these garlic types feature green leaves with yellow or brown tips that fall off when the garlic is ready to be harvested. There are considerably more segments per bulb, and they keep much longer while intact. Soft garlic cultivars must be dried since their necks are softer and have a shorter shelf life. The bulb’s exterior casing is not as sturdy as that of hard-necked bulbs, and the total size is lower.

The most common soft-necked cultivar farmed commercially is artichoke garlic. They can hold up to 20 cloves when completely developed. They are grown for viability, which allows for a successful crop as a whole. This is the garlic that we are all familiar with from the grocery store.

Before devoting time and work to drying, be sure you have a variety that requires it. Some resilient cultivars may not dry well enough. The cloves may shrivel after a few months. Set reserve this variety for immediate use. Similarly, damaged cloves might interfere with the drying process of healthy cloves. It is preferable to sort them before establishing your drying station.

Garlic drying preparation

To begin, you must understand how and when to harvest garlic. You may harvest garlic on a regular basis, knowing that as garlic develops, it will be ripe at a specific time of year. When a third of the leaves on a garlic clove has gone yellow, it is time to pull out the fork and begin harvesting the garlic. Before picking the other bulb, always verify the first. If you test one and discover that it isn’t large enough after half of the leaves have yellowed, it’s time to pluck the remainder.

Select garlic that can be dried. Those with soft or broken cloves should be removed and utilized within a few hours to a few days. Garlic that sprouts should be taken from the dryer as well. Save them for planting in the spring or fall. Any sprouting garlic cloves should be consumed or planted as garlic later on.

Set them aside to dry. Remove dirt from the roots before drying, but leave the leaves alone. During washing and harvesting, keep them away from direct sunlight. When transporting and preparing, take care not to harm them. They are delicate and easily bruised.

Garlic drying methods

There is nothing like dried garlic from your own garden. So, let’s go over the many strategies for extending the life of your light bulb. You may then receive your garlic anytime you want! Make sure that none of your bulbs are exposed to direct sunlight and that damaged bulbs are not dried among your other garlic.

  • Cluster of Drying

Hang the bunches from ceiling hooks or rafters for two weeks to mature. In this case, you’ll need a large enough room for your bunches as well as sufficient air circulation. This might be a tiny or large electric fan, but it must be remained on during the drying process. Your drying chamber’s temperature should be between room temperature and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure the relative humidity is between 60 and 70 percent. Higher temperatures may promote mold or necessitate additional drying time (up to six weeks).

When the papillae’s epidermis, as well as the leaves and roots, are totally dry, they are suitable for long-term preservation. This approach is best suited for individuals with a little yield and a large drying space. Keep in mind that little bunches of garlic will be entirely dry after around three weeks. Larger bunches will be less aerated and will dry more slowly.

  • On a drying rack

Place the garlic bulbs horizontally on a rack to dry. Vertical drying follows the same rules. Locate a well-ventilated area with a temperature between 70 and 80 degrees. Maintain a reasonable humidity level and enough air circulation. The paper packets will be dry and brittle when the bulbs are totally dried.

This may not be the ideal solution for you unless you cultivate garlic on a vast scale. Racks are not always readily accessible and must frequently be custom-built. They also consume a lot of space. If they are improperly constructed, they might obstruct the air circulation required for ripening. It is, however, a practical drying method provided you have access to a stand or the resources to create one. Because this procedure can take up to two weeks, the necessity for the room is a trade-off for a faster turnaround.

  • Treatment with a net

Each bulb should be hung in a vertical net, fence, or chicken wire. This process is comparable to bunch drying, except it takes up much less room. You may condense the area into one plane by employing a vertical net, which can be hung in a kitchen away from direct light. This approach allows you to dry a lot more garlic than the bunching method. Good, consistent air circulation and mild humidity are essential, as with the other procedures.

This will result in garlic “walls.” For 3 to 4 weeks, leave your fan or electric fan on. The bulb sleeves are ready when they are dry and brittle. The bulbs should then be prepared for long-term storage.

Bulb braiding or pruning

After the garlic has dried, you may either cut or braid the leaves off the bulbs. Garlic that has been braided will keep for as long as possible. This provides a pleasing look and aesthetic appeal that trimmed bulbs may lack. To weave the bulbs, cut off the roots and remove any dirt that has remained on the bulb. Then, using rope, connect three bulbs. Make a basic braid with three lights or a more elaborate pattern with additional bulbs. Tie the ends together with twine and hang the bulbs in your kitchen where you can reach them while cooking.

Cutting the bulbs has significant advantages as well. It is not only a faster technique to clean garlic for storage, but it also avoids peeling the garlic skin. Cut off approximately an inch above the top of the bulb using sharp scissors or pruning shears. The bulbs should then be stored in mesh bags. Remove the larger bulbs and save them for later planting, as the smaller bulbs will yield smaller bulbs in subsequent harvests. The bigger bulbs are what you’re searching for.

Garlic that is always ripe

Because of the firmness of the neck, hard-necked garlic can be dried on the neck. This procedure appears strange and is best performed in a windless environment with moderate humidity. Fan the leaves in all directions to offer some support, then place the garlic, bulb up, on its stiff neck. This approach is not recommended for individuals who have dogs or youngsters who may knock the bulbs over, as you risk injuring them, but it may be an effective option if you don’t have a large number of bulbs to deal with.

Garlic storage

You have several alternatives for storing garlic for cooking or making a garlic spray to help manage your plant. Except for the peel, you may store garlic in freezer bags in nearly any shape. You may freeze peeled cloves, chopped cloves, and chopped cloves. Garlic cloves can even be frozen. These frozen garlic segments can be stored for up to 6 months.

Garlic in oil is a fantastic way to store it. Cooking the garlic before keeping it in oil prevents germs from growing on the skin and causing botulism. Boil the peeled garlic for two minutes in water. Then drain them and toss them in olive oil with your preferred seasonings. They will stay at room temperature for two months.

Garlic powder is perplexing to individuals who do not know how to use it. But it’s not difficult to make, especially if you have a dehydrator handy. Slice peeled garlic into thin slices and dehydrate at 150°F until brittle enough to be crushed in your fingers. Then grind it until it reaches the required consistency. You may use a mortar and pestle or a blender. Garlic powder will last for two years if stored in an airtight container.

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