Friday, February 28, 2014

The Audit of My 2013 Ontario Garlic

How is everyone doing with their Ontario garlic stored away for the winter?  This past season I purchased 58 heads and I am down to my last 19. Should I panic or stop cooking Italian and Greek?

This past evening I did an audit of my remaining stinky roses and they are all still in good shape.  I have kept them in the cool, dry basement since I first purchased them.  They have been in open short paper bags, a maximum of 6 heads to a bag.

Most of the garlic heads are forming a bit of their garlic germ.  This is quite typical for this time of year. Very few have actually sprouted.  I just cut out the garlic germ when I am peeling my garlic.  A recent post by David Lebovitz endorses this practice.

It is pleasing to know that heading into March, I still have firm, moist flesh in each clove.  Of course, the garlic is at its most flavourful and juiciest when it is first harvested and allowed to dry for a few weeks.  But I feel fortunate that I am having such great success.

One of the evils of storing garlic is mold.  Too much humidity in the air or poor circulation will quickly ruin a garlic. This is why I only store a few in each bag and leave the bag open for air to move freely. I am fortunate as well to have a cool, dry basement.  I have heard of others storing their garlic in the garage. I have too much moisture coming from wet cars to dare consider that. Plus my garage tends to hover around 4C.  Fridge temperature is too cold to store garlic.

Some will also experience cloves that just dry up and disintegrate. I felt that accelerated drying was happening with a set of 6 bulbs back in November so I used them up right away.  This was disappointing as I have had reasonable success with that variety and farm in the past.  It was a colder wetter growing season in 2013. Both factors affecting the quality of garlic crops.

Each bag has been labeled with the Date of Purchase, Number of Bulbs, Price, Grower, Variety and Place of Purchase. This has come in handy when selecting garlic for cooking.  Some varieties are stronger than others.  It also helps me to see which garlic I may consider repurchasing in the next season. My eye is still not trained well enough to just recognize a bulb's pedigree by its looks.

I have been particularly pleased with garlic from my CSA farmer Roots and Shoots Farm. That is now all gone.  Also Glengyle Garlic from the Ottawa Farmers' Market has held up well.  A farm that has been a star for me but I did not purchase in 2013 is Waratah Downs Organic Farm. Other farms I have tried and have had good success are:
Rainbow Heritage Garden
Bashert Farm
Upper Canada Garlic
Vicki's Veggies

My garlic was mainly purchased at farmers' markets and garlic festivals. On average, I paid $1.30 for each head of garlic.

 Most of my garlic was purchased throughout the months of August and September.  My first local garlic came in my CSA basket on July 25, 2013. That means I have to wait another 21 weeks for a fresh crop.

Will my 19 garlic take me to late July? I suspect not. Luckily Rainbow Heritage Garden from Cobden will be participating at Seedy Saturday this weekend at the Ron Kolbus Lakeside Centre, Britannia Beach, 102 Greenview Avenue.  It runs from 10 am to 3 pm. They have promised to bring along their certified organic garlic, potatoes, beets and carrots.

Did you store local Ontario garlic for the winter?  How has it weathered the winter?

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