Garlic Harvest

At the end of a farm day on Sunday, I craved pizza.  It was all I could think about.  At first I assumed our 12 hour work day had just stirred up a fierce appetite–but this craving was so specific.  I realized that my senses had been filled all day with the smell of fresh garlic.  We spent much of the day Sunday digging up our garlic that has been growing since November.  

In the winter, when our onions and garlic were the only plants in the ground, we tended them diligently.  But as the season moved forward, they lost our focus, and we lost sight of the garlic in a forest of dandelions.  Emma started referring to the northern edge of the field as the wild side.  I stressed that if we let the weeds grow too tall, we may lose the garlic.  But I heard a piece of advice from a fellow farmer that has quelled my worry (for more than just the garlic).  The advice was: sometimes, doing less is the best thing to do.  

Did leaving the weeds improve the garlic?  Not likely.  But by letting the weeds grow in the garlic, we could turn our attention to other crops and balance our time a bit.

And to our delight, we began to harvest garlic on Sunday and it is beautiful and fragrant, and will be a staple in your CSA boxes throughout the season.  And after transporting the garlic to storage, its smell will be a staple in my car for at least as long.    

After harvesting garlic, we hang it in bunches to cure it.  The stalks dry out completely to help prevent rot, and the flavors settle in a bit so the garlic is not so strong as when we first harvest it.  The garlic you’re receiving today has been curing for about a week.  You can use it now, or you can hang it up in your kitchen and let it cure for another couple of weeks.

Either way, its fragrance will make you crave pizza too.  If I were you, I’d roast the entire head of garlic and add roasted garlic cloves as a pizza topping.

How to roast a head of garlic:

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1-2 tsp. olive oil

Method:
Peel off the outer papery covering of the head of garlic.  Using a sharp knife, slice off 1/4″-1/2″ of the tops of the cloves, so that the inside of each clove is exposed.

Place the head on a square of aluminum foil (unless you have a small clay pot for roasting garlic.  In which case, I am envious).

Drizzle the olive oil over the top of the cloves, and use your fingers to spread it around well.  Fold up the foil over the top of the clove, so that it is fully enclosed.  Either place the pouch directly on the oven rack, or you can place it on a pan (or muffin tins work well if you’re roasting multiple heads of garlic).
Bake at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes, until the garlic is soft and lightly browned.  Remove from foil and remove individual cloves from paper. 

-Aubrey

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