Saturday, July 6, 2013

garlic harvest

I harvested our crop of garlic today. We've been growing our own for the past six years, and haven't had to buy any in all that time. Generally we grow two varieties, a hardneck and a softneck. The softneck is longer lasting, so gets braided to be used after we have eaten our way through the hardneck.  A few years ago we were given some hardneck garlic that was brought over from Russia. It has grown really well for us, has nice big cloves and peels easily - we love it. That's today's haul of the Russian variety in the photo above, and below is some from last year, clean and dried: 

Last year's softneck, braided and ready to use or gift:

This year we also grew a second type of hardneck that we snuck brought back with us from a trip to Chiapas, Mexico last summer. It came out a bit smaller than I'd hoped, but I'll reserve judgement until it's dry and I can sample it. Here it is, freshly harvested today:

Garlic is the only thing we manage to grow enough of to sustain ourselves throughout the entire year. (Potatoes and onions are close, but not quite.) It's so satisfying to have at least one thing we can be completely self-reliant with. Anyone else have a favorite variety of garlic you like to grow?

More details if you're interested: 

We grow about 150 heads of garlic each year, which is enough for ourselves and some to share with friends. I set aside the biggest and most beautiful heads for next year's crop which I'll plant in the fall. 

Hard-necked varieties produce scapes, the curlicue flower stalks that can be cut and eaten a few weeks before harvesting the heads. They have a mild garlic flavor but are rich and tasty, we've sautéed them and thrown them on the grill, both of which are nice. I'm going to try making garlic scape pesto with the ones I have left from this year, and something tells me it's only a matter of time before I try pickling them.

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