How to Dry Garlic

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21-02-2021, 15:50
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Garlic is a delicious, healthy, and versatile ingredient. Growing and harvesting your own garlic is a rewarding way to ensure that you have a steady supply of the vegetable. However, if your garlic is not properly dried after you’ve harvested it, the cloves will be bitter and won’t last for very long before rotting. To dry garlic bulbs, store them in a warm, dry location for 10-14 days. To dry garlic faster, peel and slice it after harvesting it. Heat the sliced garlic in a dehydrator for 6-8 hours to remove the moisture. After your garlic has dried, you can braid it, store it on your counter, or package it in an airtight food storage container.

Drying Garlic Bulbs

  1. Harvest your garlic after 6-8 months when the lower leaves dry out. After your garlic has grown for 5-6 months, begin inspecting the plants every week. Look to see if the leaves near the base of the plant have started to brown and wilt. Once these leaves are wilted, brush the dirt away around the garlic cloves. If the bulb is large and the cloves are fully formed, use a trowel to dig around the base of the plant. Once the soil is loose, physically pull the plant out of the ground to harvest your garlic.
    • If the garlic won’t come up easily, use your trowel to dig 3–6 inches (7.6–15.2 cm) underneath the bulb. This will tear up the root system and make the garlic easier to pull up. It’s typically pretty easy to pull garlic out, though.
    • This method applies to every variety of garlic, although some species will dry out a little faster than others. Typically, the larger the bulb, the more time it will take to dry out.
  2. Knock the dirt off of each bulb with your hands. Take your garlic stalks and set them out on a table with the bulbs all facing down. Pick up your first bulb and knock off any large clumps of soil or dirt by hand. Repeat this process for every garlic bulb that you’ve harvested.
    • If you have any garlic bulbs with missing or exposed cloves, set them aside for immediate use. These cloves have likely already dried out in the ground. If they aren’t already dry, they’ll naturally dry out in your kitchen soon.
    • Do not wash your garlic. You’re going to peel it before using it, and you need to remove moisture, not add it.
  3. Trim away the roots with shears or scissors. Hold your first garlic plant by the stem near the bulb. Cut the roots off at the bottom of each bulb with shears or scissors. Leave as many of the leaves on the stem as possible. Continue this process until you’ve cut the roots off of every garlic bulb.
    • Don’t worry about removing every single root. So long as you remove most of them, your garlic will turn out fine.
    • If your stems are no longer green, feel free to trim them before doing this if you’d like. Each bulb will continue to get nutrients from the stem as it dries, but if the stems are already brown and wilted, there’s no real benefit.
  4. Select a warm, dry location to dry your garlic out. Select a location in or near your home that won’t be exposed to direct sunlight and has a consistent temperature of 75–80 °F (24–27 °C) so the garlic dries thoroughly and quickly. Basements, sheds, and boiler rooms are excellent options so long as the temperature in the room is stable and there aren’t any large windows.
    • You can dry garlic in a cooler location if you need to, but it will take a little longer to dry out completely.
    • If the temperature in the room exceeds 90 °F (32 °C), your garlic may begin to rot or sprout new stems.
    • If possible, choose an area with good ventilation. It’s more important that the garlic stays warm and out of the sun, though.
  5. Hang your garlic bulbs up or leave them out on the table. It doesn’t really matter if you dry your garlic vertically or horizontally. If you’re drying your garlic on a table, set each garlic plant out flat so that the bulb is hanging out over the edge of the table. You can also wrap twine around a group of 3-5 plants and hang them up on a hook or plant cage to store them vertically.
  6. Wait 10-14 days for your garlic to completely dry out. Leave your garlic indoors and out of the sun. Do not move or disturb the garlic while it dries. Wait at least 10 days before checking the bulbs to see if the skin is brittle and flaking.
    • The garlic is done drying when the cloves are hard and the skin on the bulb is flaking and brittle.

Dehydrating Chopped Garlic

  1. Cut the stems and skin off of your garlic bulbs. Cut the stems off of each bulb with scissors or shears. Then, take your first bulb and peel the external skin off. Use a fingernail to puncture the external skin between cloves or use a small knife to tear the skin without damaging the cloves.
    • If you’re doing this outside, take your garlic into the kitchen after removing the external skin from your garlic bulbs.
    • You may have to dehydrate your garlic in multiple batches if you’re drying a large amount of garlic and you don’t have a big dehydrator.
  2. Separate and peel your individual cloves to remove the skin. Wash your hands with soap and water before drying them with a paper towel or wash cloth. With the external skin removed, pull each bulb apart by hand to separate the cloves. Then, use your fingers to pull of each length of skin until you’ve exposed all of your cloves. Set your cloves out on a clean cutting board.
    • Dry your hands thoroughly after washing them. You don’t want to get your garlic wet as you’re peeling it.
  3. Slice the garlic into small, ⁄2 in (1.3 cm) pieces. With your cloves separated on your cutting board, grab a chef’s knife. Carefully and slowly cut each clove into 5-10 smaller pieces that are no larger than ⁄2 in (1.3 cm) in width. Continue cutting your garlic until you’ve cut each of your cloves.
    • You can also dice your garlic into smaller pieces instead of cutting them into slices. Sliced garlic tends to dry more evenly, but if your pieces are extremely small it shouldn’t matter very much.
  4. Spread the garlic out across the dehydrator trays. Take the trays out of your dehydrator and set them out on your counter. Then, spread your slices out on the trays so that each slice is flat and no single slice is overlapping another.
    • Preheat your food dehydrator while you’re doing this.
  5. Dehydrate the garlic at 115 °F (46 °C) for 6-8 hours. The internal temperature of the garlic cannot exceed 140 °F (60 °C), so dehydrate your garlic at 115 °F (46 °C). Leave the garlic in the dehydrator for 6-8 hours and remove it once the slices are crisp, brittle, and hard. Once you’ve removed the slices, you can store the slices, dice them, or ground them into a powder for storage.

Storing Dried Garlic

  1. Braid your bulbs to preserve them for a longer period of time. Set 3 bulbs out next to one another with the stems overlapping. Wrap the stems around one another by crisscrossing the stems 2-3 times before tying the stems in place with string. Add 2-3 bulbs above your original bulbs and layer the stalks around one another by wrapping the stems and tying them in place. Repeat this process until you’ve braided 8-12 bulbs. Tie the remaining stalks together to keep the braid secure.
    • Trim any stems that are sticking out of your braid line using scissors or shears.
    • Hardneck garlic will shatter or break if you try to braid it if you didn’t wrap the stems in a damp towel while you were drying it.
  2. Hang your braid from a clothing line or hook in your kitchen for 6-12 months. Once you’ve secured your braid, use the last stem at the top to tie the braid up. You can store the braid in your kitchen on a hook or cabinet fixture, or use a clothing line to string it up in the air. Braided garlic will typically stay fresh for 6-12 months after hanging.
  3. Store stemless bulbs at room temperature for 4-6 months. If you don’t want to hang your garlic, trim the stems off of your bulbs using shears or scissors. Then, place your individual bulbs inside of a mesh bag or set them out in a bowl on your counter. Garlic will typically last 4-6 months if stored in the open.
    • If possible, store your garlic in an area where the temperature is typically 60–65 °F (16–18 °C). Keep the garlic out of direct light if you can.
  4. Keep sliced garlic in an airtight container for 2-3 months. If you dried your garlic in a dehydrator, set the slices inside of an airtight food storage container. Close the container and press down along the edges of the lid to ensure that the container is completely closed. Leave your container out on your counter and store the garlic at room temperature for 2-3 months.
    • If possible, store the garlic in an area of your home that does not get hotter than 60–65 °F (16–18 °C).
    • Wrap a dark towel around the package to keep the garlic out of direct light.

Tips

  • You do not need to dry store-bought garlic. These bulbs have already been processed and dried.
  • The drying process if often referred to as curing. These two terms are interchangeable and refer to the same thing.

Things You’ll Need

Drying Garlic Bulbs

  • Trowel
  • Shears or scissors
  • Twine (optional)
  • Plant cage or hook (optional)

Dehydrating Chopped Garlic

  • Soap
  • Water
  • Cutting board
  • Knife

Storing Dried Garlic

  • Twine
  • Shears or scissors
  • Mesh bag (optional)
  • Bowl (optional)
  • Airtight food storage container
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