It’s late July, and we are pulling the garlic. A good friend of mine who lives near Stoneridge, NY., got the garlic bug a few years ago, and planted several acres of it. She cured her garlic by braiding it and hanging it in her old barn. She gave me several different types of garlic- a German red which was a hard neck and later a French white which was a soft neck and there were two others which I have forgotten the names. The hard neck variety do very well in upstate New York, and have a stronger flavor than the soft neck. The shelf life is usually about 5-6 months, but mine have lasted for a full year in a cool basement (low 50’s). The hard necks usually have about 4-6 cloves per bulb. The soft neck bulbs are the ones that you usually see braided into those beautiful shapes and have many more cloves per bulb. I am now onto my third or fourth season with excellent results.
After we pull the garlic, we cure it (if the weather is good) on our dry stonewalls which are warm and get a lot of air circulation. This year due to rain, we have laid it out on an old ladder under the porch. It will take a couple of days for the soil to dry out on the bulbs and then it’s easy to dust off any remaining particles before you tie it up or braid it. Part of the new crop will be used for replanting in late autumn.
The oldest part of my house has a dirt floor and stone walls dating back to 1840. For years, I have thought about covering it over with concrete, but I think the humidity helps balance the dry air caused by the furnace. High humidity is excellent for wine storage because you do not want the corks drying out and as it turns out- for garlic. My garlic lasts a full year stored in the basement and does not dry out or get moldy.