Monday, 28 November 2016

Elephant Garlic harvest

 Ummmm ... Yup ... lots of Elephant garlic and its now sitting on the veranda stinking up the neighbourhood.

It was planted in May of this year (2016). Here in Australia garlic is planted in Autumn and then harvested in last Spring or early summer. I made the decision yesterday to harvest all of it and place it on racks to finish drying.

Elephant Garlic is easy to grow. Its related to Onions, Garlic & Leeks and they are all from the same family called Amaryllidaceae.

Lots of people call them leeks but that is incorrect, Elephant Garlic is very different to Leeks, they are a lot bigger, the base of them becomes distended and bulb shaped and they produce individual cloves whereas leeks do not. Leeks are very much like a "long Onion" (that's how I describe them)

Elephant Garlic is also different to regular garlic. It has a milder flavor. Its great for cooking as it can be used like a filler the same as onions in that they takes on the flavor of the dish rather than over power it the way true garlic does.

Elephant takes approx. 7 to 9 months from planting cloves to harvest depending on climate conditions. Here where I live , which is cold climate zone, I tend to harvest my Elephant garlic while the leaves are still green. Plenty of people leave the plant in the ground until it is full dried but I like to remove it once I see the leaves begin to turn brown. I then place them on racks and allow them to finish drying under cover on the veranda.

The reason I do this is to reduce the risk of losing the Elephant garlic to rot. Here in my Cold climate zone the weather in November can be a bit unpredictable. We get a heap of warm days which is great for the garlic however we can also get what's called "Cold Fronts" coming through and these cold fronts can drop the temperature from 32C to 8C within a very short time and they usually contain rain as well and it is this rain combined with the sudden change in temperature which can cause the rot to set in.

This Elephant garlic will stay here on the veranda for about 5 weeks. After that I will top & tail it (remove the leaves and roots) and then leave it to dry for another 6 weeks. Once it is dry, they will then be "cracked" and the best cloves will be removed and placed into cardboard boxes to be replanted next year.