Photo courtesy USDA/Bruce Fritz
Whole cloves of garlic can be pickled or frozen, but the best way to preserve garlic while retaining its original character is to cure it and dry it, which concentrates its flavor. Curing garlic requires drying it at room temperature until you can trim away its roots, stems and leaves without producing a strong, garlicky odor. You can continue drying garlic at room temperature for up to 10 months, depending on the variety. Keep checking it, though, and use it as soon as you can because the cloves will eventually become leathery and unusable.
With this faster drying process, you can maintain the flavor of heirloom garlic at its original for years:
Peel the cloves and cut them into 1/8- to 1/4-inch slivers. Dry the slivers in a dehydrator at 130 degrees F until they are hard and crisp, but still light-colored. (Darkened garlic can have an unpleasant, bitter taste.)
These recipes originally appeared in Cheryl Morrison’s “Gifts from the Heirloom Larder,” an article in the Popular Farming Series: Heirloom Farm. To get a copy of Popular Farming Series: Heirloom Farm, click here.
Also check out Karen Keb Acevedo’s book Cooking with Heirlooms for more great heirloom recipes!