Garlic Forever

I harvested my garlic a month ago, and since then it’s been dangling from strings wherever I could find space in the basement.

It’s time to consolidate.

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I hung the whole plants, bulbs down, in three bundles spaced loosely enough to allow good airflow. Since the plants are good and dry now, I can cut the bulbs away. I just snipped through the stalks  with a pair of scissors about an inch above the bulbs.

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I also trimmed off the excess roots, mostly for aesthetics and to keep the bulbs from tangling with each other.

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Here they are nicely shorn.

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Last summer I harvested about half a dozen bubs. If I keep expanding at this rate I can go into production soon.

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I’m not going into production yet. (I’m not even sharing with my housemates!) But I do want my garlic looking its best. I gently peeled off the outer, dirty layer of papery skin.

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And that’s it! I tucked them an old mesh onion bag and hung them from a nail in a dark alcove of the cellar. Last year’s garlic lasted all winter like that, so I have high hopes. Around Halloween I’ll break up one or two and plant the cloves – I’m excited to get a multi-generational crop and finally become garlic self-sufficient.

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I’m using “self-sufficient” very loosely. There’s no way this is lasting a year.

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Garlic Time

It’s garlic time!

Last fall I bought a whole pile of garlic from the farmer’s market. I stuck the cloves in the ground in November and hoped for the best.

Sure enough, almost all of them sprouted and grew. They stayed a little smaller than my neighbors’ – probably because I got carried away and planted them too close together.

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When I pulled them out, the heads were a little on the small side, too. In spite of that, they were all fully formed and healthy looking.

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I got about 20 heads in all. I brought them up to the house and gently brushed them clean with a paper towel.

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I bundled them together into three bunches that ought to give them ample air circulation.

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And I hung them in the basement from whatever spare nails I could find. It’s starting to look like a colonial storehouse down there. I’ll leave them to dry for a few weeks before I cut off the stalks and roots, brush off the excess dirt, and settle in for the long winter.

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Christmas Crackers

I went home for Christmas, which meant more big baking projects. My favorite was one my dad started doing after I left home, meaning I’d never made it before. I’m talkin’ rosemary garlic crackers.

First we made a big harvest of the rosemary bush in the basement. No matter how much rosemary you pick, it always seems like too much.

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We added it and some diced garlic to a flour and salt mix.

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Olive oil to hold it all together.

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We split the dough into four balls and rolled them out a bit.

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We broke out the pasta maker. This was a gift for my dad when I was about five. We’ve made pasta with it a few times over the years, but it turns out pasta is a serious pain to make, not to mention one of the cheapest things you can buy in the store. So now it’s a cracker maker.

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We ran the dough through four times, each time on a thinner setting.

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We laid the flattened pieces out on parchment paper and baked them.

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And just a few minutes later had crisp, savory, rosemary garlic crackers. Best eaten compulsively in the dead of night when the rest of the house is asleep and there’s no harm in banging out just one more episode of Downton Abbey.

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