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Garlic Season


Dignan
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When fresh garlic comes out at the markets here in the spring it scares me. It's bundled in these fabulous wonderful bouquets and is dirt cheap but I don't know what it's going to do after that. The market smells gloriously of garlic. You can stand between the witchy ladies who deal in fresh garlic, lemons, prunes, and cinnamon, and the chicken roasters and almost have lunch by breathing. What is that fresh garlic going to do? should I buy it? I never have because my feeling was that I should let it "stabilize" (this may be a concept of my imagination) and get the bunches with the proper papery skins. I may be missing out on something, though.

-Lucy

edited to fix a horrendous typo

Edited by bleudauvergne (log)
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Here is what Nicole Smart of Montana Gourmet Garlic says to do with fresh garlic;

PS - Since it's getting toward the end of garlic season [Nov.], if your garlic

looks like it's beginning to sprout or dry out, simply peel the cloves and

freeze them in a Ziplock freezer bag. They'll turn a strange translucent

orange color but they retain all of their flavor when you defrost and use them.

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Fresh garlic, as long as it is in well formed heads (rather than the green garlic chardgirl linked to) can be dried by leaving it in the sun for a few days. But really, there's no reason not to just use the fresh garlic like you would dried.

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When fresh garlic comes out at the markets here in the spring it scares me. It's bundled in these fabulous wonderful bouquets and is dirt cheap but I don't know what it's going to do after that. The market smells gloriously of garlic. You can stand between the witchy ladies who deal in fresh garlic, lemons, prunes, and cinnamon, and the chicken roasters and almost have lunch by breathing. What is that fresh garlic going to do? should I buy it? I never have because my feeling was that I should let it "stabilize" (this may be a concept of my imagination) and get the bunches with the proper papery skins. I may be missing out on something, though.

Fresh garlic? Dirt cheap? Yes, you should definitely buy it! Fresh garlic is awesome.

You only need to dry it out for storage, really. Do as melkor says, or freeze it if you want (I have never done that, can't comment).

If you grow garlic, it turns into a solid bulb which then sort of separates into cloves somehow. I am not describing it well. Anyhow, I like using the big solid head as well, just like normal garlic. Now that's pretty young garlic. Garlic greens are good too.

I love cold Dinty Moore beef stew. It is like dog food! And I am like a dog.

--NeroW

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bleudauvergne,

You epitomize most Americans raised in a country of boxed, processed foods who have never seen broccoli or brussels sprouts growing out of the ground as a plant.

It's a sad day when a human is afraid of fresh produce. I assure you, as I know other egulleters will, that you have absolutely nothing to fear. In fact, once you start embracing fresh produce, your body and your taste buds will thank you.

What do you mean "what is it going to do"? You make it sound like it's going sneak up on you in the middle of the night and threaten your life! LOL!

What is it going to do and should you buy it? It is going to open your world up to a whole new world of fresh ingredients at the peak of their flavor, crisp in texture, and height of nutrition. Any vegetable gardener will tell you that home grown and freshly picked produce is much, much better than store bought.

Trust that nose of yours. If you have questions, ask the friendly person selling the garlic! They'll likey be prepared with recipes, suggestions, and tell you what specific variety of garlics they are offering... and there are many, check out Filaree Farm.

>my feeling was that I should let it "stabilize" (this may be a concept of my imagination)

You're right. It is a concept of your imagination. The only thing it's doing from the time it is harvested out of the ground is deteriorating, albiet slowly.

mnebergall,

It is not recommended to freeze garlic because it changes the texture of the garlic. The best way to store it is in a cool, dark, dry area. That's why you see those clay garlic containers.

The best thing to do with fresh garlic is to use it up! Cut a fresh baguette or french bread into slices, drizzle olive oil on one side, toast it. Pull it from the oven or toaster and immediately rub lightly with a clove of fresh garlic (no, you won't use the whole clove) and sprinkle salt and pepper on top. You've just made some of the best garlic bread you'll ever have.

melkor,

Never a good idea to dry garlic in the sun. Vegetable gardeners will tell you the best way to dry is in the shade, or in a cool, dark, well ventilated area. This will maintain maximum flavor. The same goes for herbs, etc.

jschyun,

>If you grow garlic, it turns into a solid bulb which

>then sort of separates into cloves somehow.

When you grow garlic, you start out with the bulb by planting the bulb (one bulb = one clove). When you plant it in the fall, that bulb starts to send out green stems/stalks to get some sun so that it can photosynthesize and provide for root formation. Think of the bulb as a seed. It provides the genitic plan for what that plant is supposed to do as well as the nutrients to get it started until it can support itself. Once it can support itself, the original bulb rots/disentegrates because it is no longer needed. Root formation occurs all winter. The better the root formation, the healthier the stalks are, and as a result of both, more nutrients that can go into bulb formation which begin in late spring/early summer when temperature, maturity, length of exposure to daylight, and other factors culminate to stimulate clove production which begins at the crown where the roots meet the stem.

:)

Edited by mudbug (log)
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melkor,

Never a good idea to dry garlic in the sun. Vegetable gardeners will tell you the best way to dry is in the shade, or in a cool, dark, well ventilated area. This will maintain maximum flavor. The same goes for herbs, sun dried tomatoes, etc.

jschyun,

>If you grow garlic, it turns into a solid bulb which

>then sort of separates into cloves somehow.

When you grow garlic, you start out with the bulb by planting the bulb (one bulb = one clove). When you plant it in the fall, that bulb starts to send out green stems/stalks to get some sun so that it can photosynthesize and provide for root formation. Think of the bulb as a seed. It provides the genitic plan for what that plant is supposed to do as well as the nutrients to get it started until it can support itself. Once it can support itself, the original bulb rots/disentegrates because it is no longer needed. Root formation occurs all winter. The better the root formation, the healthier the stalks are, and as a result of both, more nutrients that can go into bulb formation which begin in late spring/early summer when temperature, maturity, length of exposure to daylight, and other factors culminate to stimulate clove production which begins at the crown where the roots meet the stem.

Garlic and tomatoes both need to be dried in the sun to prevent mold from forming wherever there is moisture on them. Without the heat from the sun you run a serious risk of losing your crop.

As far as how garlic grows, it starts as a clove and when it starts to bulb out it does so as one large bulb - only fairly close to harvest time does the bulb divide into cloves. If you uproot the plant before the bulb divides, then you will have exactly what jschun describes - one large lump of garlic.

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mnebergall,

It is not recommended to freeze garlic because it changes the texture of the garlic. The best way to store it is in a cool, dark, dry area. That's why you see those clay garlic containers.

The best thing to do with fresh garlic is to use it up! Cut a fresh baguette or french bread into slices, drizzle olive oil on one side, toast it. Pull it from the oven or toaster and immediately rub lightly with a clove of fresh garlic (no, you won't use the whole clove) and sprinkle salt and pepper on top. You've just made some of the best garlic bread you'll ever have.

I was just reporting what the owner of a Montana gourmet garlic farm recommended. I just figured that since she makes her living solely on the basis of garlic, that she might have some superior knowledge. I guess she could be wrong.

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Oops! Obviously 'sun dried tomatoes' would be dried in the sun.... duh! My mistake. You get my drift.

It is fine to dry garlic in a cool, dark area as long as it is dry and well ventilated, which is the key to preventing mold. This is according to the book "Growing Great Garlic" which argues that there is a difference between "curing" and "rapid drying" garlic. "... the time of day of harvest, the rate of cure, and the intensity of the heat all have a direct effect on the chemical composition, potency, and appearance of the final dried product." They believe that "...the garlic cures better at a more constant temperature than when it experiences daily extremes. Temperature extremes cause rapid expansion and contraction of cell walls. They also affect the internal chemistry of cloves." (as freezing does) pp 151-152.

mnebergall,

I wasn't saying she was wrong by any means. Many people freeze their garlic because of a lack of alternatives. I was just stating that it's not recommended. ;)

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When I harvest my hardneck garlic, I pay strict attention to the weather forecast. In mid-August, when two day's of warm sun and no rain is forcasted, I gently pull the entire bulb and stalk from the soil, and let them rest, on top of the soil. After the first day, I rotate the bulb, so that the underside which the day before layed on the soil is now basting in fresh air. The purpose, is to let the head air dry, so that any remaining soil, can now be brushed off the bulb, leaving a clean head. The stalk is chopped off, and the remaining root hairs are trimmed close to the head. A somewhat tedious process.

At that time, I stuff the now naked whole heads, into stockinets, (read pantyhose) and let them continue to air dry for another 10 days to two weeks, out of the sun, before heading into a cool, low light long term storage location.

woodburner

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What do you mean "what is it going to do"? You make it sound like it's going sneak up on you in the middle of the night and threaten your life! LOL!

I mean if I buy one of these bunches, which in essence may contain at least 50 full heads of garlic, much more than I could possibly eat, and they won't break it down for you, I feel like whatever I can't use immediately may develop icky black mold under the skin, which I have also seen in this same garlic when the fresh garlic vendors have been lugging this stuff around long enough and their voices get more urgent in trying to attract people to their stalls. It starts out at the market as this glorious wonderful stuff and then it looks like it's going bad on the tables after a couple of weeks. Then I see other garlic which comes in smaller quantities and is much more expensive, seems already to have been properly aired out, no fungus, but it does not seem like the same stuff. When we get fresh figs, they don't seem like the same thing as the ones that have been slowly dried. They don't pack as flavorful a punch, either. I am wondering if the garlic fresh can be used in much greater quantities because it's not as concentrated. It seems to be more stable, when it's been dried, and last longer. Perhaps it's been hung in a properly ventilated place, a barn that's kept dry with plenty of ventilation. I am thinking that it will get icky black fungus disease when I ask myself what it's going to do. But I will buy some this year. My new oven has the capacity to puff a very low heat and dry things while ventilating them. Perhaps what I don't eat can be saved. I am going to try it that way. I do know that if you eat too much fresh garlic, the smell begins to eminate from your skin.

I have been here in France for about 3 and a half years now, and the fresh goods available to me continue to astound me. It's true. :smile:

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from mudbug: 

bleudauvergne,

You epitomize most Americans raised in a country of boxed, processed foods who have never seen broccoli or brussels sprouts growing out of the ground as a plant.

:shock:

from jschyun:  Garlic greens are good too.

Would I use them like chives? In soups? How do you use them?

-Lucy

Edited by bleudauvergne (log)
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I hate this time of year for garlic--all the garlic I can find is old and sprouting. We don't get fresh crop from local growers here in Colorado until August or so, but the stores must get it in fresh from out of state more like June, maybe, I'm thinking.

Feb. for garlic is tough, but here in CA and I hope other states too green garlic is available. Although it's different in some ways I find it can be used in many of the same places 'regular' garlic cloves might be used later in the season.

Green Garlic Photo

With the combination of having a much shorter growing season, and a less developed farmer's market system, we don't have green garlic available to us in Colorado. I planted garlic for the first time last fall, and it isn't even poking out of the ground yet.

There's a green garlic soup recipe, in either the Greens cookbook by Deborah Madison, or Chez Panisse cookbook that is delicious.

Edited to add: The green garlic soup recipe uses just the greens, and, my memory is, that we used them when they were younger than in the above photo, when they were closer to looking like large chives.

Edited by fredbram (log)

Fred Bramhall

A professor is one who talk's in someone else's sleep

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With the combination of having a much shorter growing season, and a less developed farmer's market system, we don't have green garlic available to us in Colorado. I planted garlic for the first time last fall, and it isn't even poking out of the ground yet.

Fred-

The garlic I planted last fall (also for the first time) *is* poking out of the ground. It is planted on the south side of my house in Boulder. So there's hope.

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It's amazing what that south side of the house location can do for a plant. Nonetheless, I will be rooting around under the mulch when I get home today on the chance that this week of warm weather will have done the trick..... (hope, hope).

Fred Bramhall

A professor is one who talk's in someone else's sleep

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To clarify for folks that might not know:

There is green garlic early season green garlic

and again green garlic later in the season later season green garlic

and garlic scapes, which are the sprouting stalk and bulb of the garlic plant Garlic Scapes

and garlic chives, which I'm sorry I don't have a photo for. Garlic chives do have a garlic-y flavor, and look like flat wide chives, but they aren't a true garlic plant. They are a perennial and easy to grow in a garden....

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>"cropdusting" after effects

Can you be more specific?

Sorry, trying to be discrete. The problem is after ingesting significant amounts of garlic (e.g. a meal at the stinking rose) I have terrible gas and the resultant problems. We've euphemistically started calling it cropdusting.

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I mean if I buy one of these bunches, which in essence may contain at least 50 full heads of garlic, much more than I could possibly eat, and they won't break it down for you, I feel like whatever I can't use immediately may develop icky black mold under the skin, which I have also seen in this same garlic when the fresh garlic vendors have been lugging this stuff around long enough and their voices get more urgent in trying to attract people to their stalls.  It starts out at the market as this glorious wonderful stuff and then it looks like it's going bad on the tables after a couple of weeks.  Then I see other garlic which comes in smaller quantities and is much more expensive, seems already to have been properly aired out, no fungus, but it does not seem like the same stuff.

Garlic chives photo.

Regular chives photo.

Close up of Garlic Chives (they are flat, not hollow).

Check out this thread, there's a good discussion on garlic shoots and the use of them.

bleudauvergne,

The bunches are likely softneck which should last for several months if stored properly. My guess is that they start to look bad from the vendor because they have to keep moving them around from location to location which causes stress to the bulbs and also exposes them to temperature differences which will increase the likelieness of deterioration.

Get them early. If they're braided, just hang them up in a cool, dark, dry, well ventilated area. If they're loose heads, just store them in pantyhose legging or something like the same netting you buy bunches of onions in at the grocery store and hang in the same conditions.

As for the smaller quantitiy garlic you see, I assume they're the hardneck variety and not the softneck. If this is the case, they are more rarely available than softnecks and more expensive for growers to obtain to grow out. They are considered specialty or gourmet garlics for numerous reasons including flavor which is why the price is higher.

>I am wondering if the garlic fresh can be used in much greater quantities because it's not as concentrated.

It completely depends on the specific variety of garlic. Some are much sweeter and more mild, others will knock the socks off most hot peppers. There's only one way to find out.

I highly recommend you chat with the vendor. They spent the time to grow it so that people like you might try it and appreciate it. They don't expect you to know how to store it and what to do with it. They'll be happy to tell you more than you ever wanted to know if they're a good vendor, that's what they're there for. Some even will pull out printed recipes they like to share with their customers.

>I do know that if you eat too much fresh garlic, the smell begins to eminate from your skin.

There is a common mix of 1/3 olive oil, 1/3 fresh crushed/minced garlic, and 1/3 Italian parsley (can't remember the name). The parsley can greatly reduce problems as you mentioned and bad breath because of it's high chlorophyll content which helps to neutralize those negative aspects of garlic so many people want to avoid, acting as a natural breath freshener. (Chlorophyll in an active ingredient in many breath fresheners.)

Lawdawg,

Ahhh... I see. I was thinking in terms of a gardener. Have to check around on that one!

:wink:

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I highly recommend you chat with the vendor. They spent the time to grow it so that people like you might try it and appreciate it. They don't expect you to know how to store it and what to do with it. They'll be happy to tell you more than you ever wanted to know if they're a good vendor, that's what they're there for. Some even will pull out printed recipes they like to share with their customers.

That's excellent advice, Mudbug. When this kind of garlic comes this year, I will have a chat with the people who sell it. Maybe they'll also let me taste it. Thank you for the links to photos. :smile:

-Lucy

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  • 2 months later...

Wowser! That looks like some really fresh garlic. I have never seen it like that here... I mean with the green tops still on. But then, southeast Texas is not exactly a garlic growing area. I have gotten purple garlic like that where the cloves were still almost that juicy. But these are over the top. From the photo, it looks like the outer skin and individual clove husks haven't had a chance to dry yet. How easy are they to peel?

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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bleudauvergne,

Thanks for sharing the pics! Keep us updated on how you're using them. Also, take some pics of those heirloom hardneck garlics too... and let us know what your vender tells you...

:wink:

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