How to Store Garlic
Learn how to cure and store your garlic harvest
Homegrown garlic is a valuable crop. It's easy to grow all you need for year-round use, and the quality just can't be beat. There are lots of different types of garlic available — read the seed catalogs carefully and choose one that's well-suited to your location. Cold-climate gardeners usually grow stiff-neck varieties, which are hardier. In warmer climates, the soft-neck garlic varieties (which can be braided) are more popular.
A perfect bulb, just after harvest.
Garlic has the same growing requirements as onions. Keep the plants weeded, well-watered, and in full sun. To harvest gorgeous garlic, dig the plants when the second set of leaves begins to yellow, which may occur as early as July. If you wait too long to harvest, the cloves will begin to separate as they dry, and the heads won't store as well. Shake or brush most of the soil off the bulbs but don't wash them. The drier the better. Sort out and save the biggest heads for planting next fall.
First, cure your garlic heads by spreading them out or tying them up in bunches in a well-ventilated location out of sun and rain. Once the outer skins have become papery, after about 2-3 weeks, the garlic is cured and ready for storage. The papery skins should be firm around the garlic head and the once-green foliage will have withered and turned brown.
Storing garlic in the refrigerator is not recommended — colder temps actually encourage garlic to sprout. Instead, store garlic in a location that is dry, well-ventilated, and close to room temperature; around 60 degrees F. When stored correctly, garlic will easily keep for 6 months.
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