Saturday, June 9, 2012

Great Garden Sink Idea and Harvesting Garlic

A few years ago I discovered this wonderful garden sink idea at Mother Earth News.  One of these days I'm going to have this baby.  This is their image:

You can read about this garden work station (plus a bunch of other handy gardening tips) at http://www.motherearthnews.com/Organic-Gardening/Plant-Care-Summer-Garden.aspx

I don't do a traditional compost pile like the image, but there's always a tomato plant or a duck that would appreciate the water.

This morning I dug the garlic.  Wow!  Most of the bulbs were a lot bigger than what I can buy in the grocery store locally and definitely larger than anything that's come out of my garden in the past.  I'm happy.  Nothing else is doing squat in my garden, so I appreciate the little things.

I don't have a root cellar or cold room in my house, so I do what "they" advise NOT to do.  I freeze it.  (Who are "they", anyway?)  It's great to pull a couple of already peeled cloves out of a freezer bag, chop 'em up and throw them in the skillet with the onions.  I don't notice any loss of flavor, texture sure isn't an issue since I'm not eating it raw and no one has gotten sick or died.

Usually "they" advise to let your garlic dry.  I do just the opposite since I'm going to freeze it.  And I want to finish it up today.  I dug the bulbs, then hosed them off to get most of the dirt off the roots. Using scissors, I cut off most of the roots and most of the stem.  Put the bulbs in cold water.  You might want to use a glass or metal bowl so the garlic smell isn't an issue later.  In a bit, you can trim off the rest of the root and stem, peel off some of the outer skin and put them back in clean, cold water.  After about 30 minutes, the skins are easily peeled off and the cloves can be popped into a freezer bag, then frozen.  If they have been in the water for about an hour or so, cut off the end (root end) and give each a squeeze.  They'll pop right out of the skins. Of course you don't want a lot of water in your bag, so drain them well before freezing.
Soaking dried cloves in cold water for 10-15 minutes (or longer) is a great way to get the papery thin skins off.  The clove will just pop right out of the skin.  Smashing it with the side of my big ol' knife might make me feel like Emeril for a moment, but I hate picking the smashed garlic pieces out of the papery skins.  I'll pull it out of the freezer any day.  Just my take on it.

Added the next day:  Here's what I ended up with from my $0.25 bulb of grocery store garlic that I planted last October:


Two and a half cups of already peeled garlic, ready for the freezer.  The house smelled like a pizzeria.