This page shows you how to preserve the flavor of fresh garlic for many months.
Purchase garlic that is "alive" NOT "dead". Make sure the garlic you purchase was not sprayed to prevent the germination ... You must purchase in July - August, if you want quality garlic that is fresh and loaded with nutritional value.
|Select the right garlic variety
First you must distinguish hard-neck from soft-neck varieties.
Hard-neck varieties (the ones that grow a central stalk bearing the seed) are more flavorful than soft-neck varieties (those that are usually displayed in a braid).
On the other hand soft-neck varieties have a longer shelf life ... that allows stores to sell "one-year-old", dried, great-looking but no-flavor garlic (dead garlic).
Select only hard-neck varieties for better taste. These are also better adapted for growing in Wisconsin.
|Purchase the garlic "green"
Green garlic is not cured. In order to preserve garlic - avoid mould - you should hang it in a shaded, ventilated room to dry for a week or two. Don't expose garlic to the sun.
The hull of the bulb is formed by the bottom of dried-out leaves. Four dried leaves equal to four layers around the bulb. Other leaves higher up the stem represent the wrapping of the cloves. Once four/six leaves are dry you can cut off the top of the stalk and keep the garlic in a paper bag.
Purchase garlic green (with the green leaves still attached to the bulb) so you can control the age of your garlic. You can only purchase green garlic in July, early August. Later on, by the end of August, the energy that is enclosed in the cloves will be devoted to generate new life: a sprout will germinate inside each clove.
You must prevent sprouting! You must save that powerful energy and the flavor of the juices that contain the energy.
If you let the garlic dry out, you lose energy and flavor.
|This picture shows White German garlic on the left, and Big Clove Romanian on the right.
The bulb on the right still has green leaves to show the freshness.
|Seal in the energy by freezing
We recommend to wait until the stalks are dried up before you take the bulbs apart.
There are two schools of garlic storage: Curzio likes to clean the cloves as if you would cook with them, put them in a plastic bag and freeze.
My nephew Brian Zarletti (Chef of Ristorante Zarletti in Milwaukee) stores the cloves with the wrapping! He removes the wrapping before cooking by submerging the cloves in hot water for a couple of minutes.
|With the first method the cloves are ready to use - defrost in microwave and squeeze through a press or cut. The second method is less work at first and possibly the wrapping helps to better preserve the flavor.
In any case we have kept garlic frozen for three years and have found the taste unchanged (no freezer burn).
The cloves will not clump in the freezer bag - when you are done using the fresh garlic that you have stored in a paper bag, you will remove from the freezer bag as many cloves as you need.
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Looking forward to meet you at Kenosha HarborMarket this Saturday, or some day.
Your friend will be under the white tent,