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Braiding garlic in not-so-easy steps

By Penny Stine

 

 

 

After reading a bit more about the optimal time to dig garlic, I decided mine was ready.

 

 

 

You're not supposed to wait for the tops to turn completely brown, like I did with my earlier garlic. If you do, the bulbs aren't left with enough of the paper-like husk that allows them to store for months. I ended up with a lot of garlic that I need to use quickly.

 

 

 

 

Although I planted the hardneck garlic in one place and the softneck in a different spot, when I dug them, I just dug the bulbs that I thought were ready, and that included a few of both.


OK, it included a lot of both. Especially since I already have a couple dozen garlic bulbs.


I let the garlic cure outside on my deck, where it sat in the shade and out of the sun (which can change the flavor of garlic, according to some experts) for a couple of days.

 

 

Then I discovered the reason for the names hardneck and softneck.  I think this photo really says it all. The hardneck dries brittle, whereas the softneck remains pliable. While growing, the hardneck forms the delicious scape, but the softneck is said to store longer.
Then I went online and read about making garlic braids. I found several youtube videos (here for softneck, here for hardneck) and thought it would be easy-peasy, especially since I've been braiding my own hair for more than three decades.


Ha ha ha.

 

 

 

After multiple attempts and quite a few sessions rewatching the video, I was eventually able to braid the softneck garlic.
I never did get the hang of how she was doing the hardneck variety. It was getting dark and the mosquitos came out, so I left it on my picnic table and went inside to take a photo of the one I did manage to make.  

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