Cleaning garlic

Credit: Carolyn Herriot

After harvest garlic bulbs need a period of 6 to 8 weeks hanging to dry in a warm place away from direct sunlight. Once the bulbs have cured it’s time to clean them ready for kitchen use or replanting.

With a sharp pair of scissors cut the roots off the bulb, as close to the bulb as possible. Loosen any soil that remains lodged in the roots and shake it off. Gently rub the outer skin of the bulb away to remove any soil, leaving as much wrapper skin as possible, as this prolongs storage.

If the variety is a rocambole garlic (hard neck) the cloves will be larger, but the seed stalk too stiff for braiding. Hard necks will store in a cool dark place for up to 9 months. Soft neck varieties have pliable stalks more suitable for braiding, as they do not put out a seed head. They often have smaller cloves, but will last up to 12 months in storage. Braids of soft neck garlic adorned with dried flowers are a lovely way to hang garlic for kitchen use. These also make a great gift from the garden.