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Garlic. It is said that garlic originated from China many ages ago. Many varieties now exist that differ from one another including storage life, flavor profiles, and if they are best suited for eating raw, roasting, or braiding. There are two main types of garlic. Softneck, and hardneck. Here on our Maine farm we grow hardneck varieties.
It is generally agreed upon that hardneck varieties have a much broader flavor profile that softneck types. This has been found to be especially true in hardneck types grown in cold winter climates, such as our climate here in Maine. For this reason hardneck types are typically sought-after more often in the culinary world for their strong yet broad flavors.
We grow several different hardneck types, but our main crop consists of the Romanian Red variety.
A favorite for those that enjoy the delicious taste of garlic, or for those in the culinary world that enjoy cooking with it, our Romanian Red garlic is for you. Called by many of our customers “the best tasting garlic ever”, Romanian Red is known for its pungent, spicy bite, and rich garlic flavor. As the name implies, Romanian Red garlic came to the United States from Romania via British Columbia. We purchased our initial test batch of organic Romanian Red seed garlic to grow in 2012, and have been loving it ever since using our own seed from previous crops. Romanian Red garlic is a Porcelain variety and is a hardneck garlic.
Hardneck garlic shoots up a stalk called a ‘scape’ during its early stages of growth. These are typically cut back by growers in order to focus the growth to the bulb of the garlic. The scapes can then be eaten and are delicious in salads, pesto, or sauteed mixed in with other dishes. Letting the scape grow results in a flowering stalk and a smaller bulb. We plant our garlic in the fall which results in a tasty crop the following August. The Romanian Red variety is also known for its high Allicin content of all known garlic types, which is suspected to contribute to many potential health benefits.
Romanian Red Garlic
Our organic Romanian Red Garlic is grown using only the best certified organic inputs or our own organically made materials such as our own compost, or shredded leaves from around the farm.
We use our garlic to make fresh-milled garlic powder, made in the USA by us on our farm.
Best way to store garlic
On Harvesting and Curing
We plant our delicious Romanian Red garlic in the fall, and it is harvested during the summer of the following year. After harvest, our garlic is then cured. Curing is important to garlic after harvest, as this greatly extends storage life. We cure our garlic by hanging in bunches the shade and under cover, with as much air flow as possible. After curing, we trim the roots and necks, and grade the garlic accordingly. Our garlic is then graded for seed or culinary use, depending on quality and size. Large bulbs with the largest cloves are considered seed quality, while smaller bulbs are saved for culinary use. We also use some of our garlic for our own organic garlic powder.
Our garlic is generally cured and ready for sale around the end of August. If stored properly, our garlic will last well into late winter and even early spring. As I write this entry in early winter, I stare at my bulbs from last summer, now several months old and looking like I just picked them yesterday.
Garlic bulbs keep best whole and not broken into cloves, and stored best in one of two ways. If you have access to a cool, dry area with low humidity and temperatures between 32 and 35 degrees Fahrenheit, this proves to serve best for long-term storage. Remember, garlic wants to sprout, so as soon as you remove a bulb (or clove) from this cooler storage to warmer temperatures it will sprout much more quickly than the warmer method of storage.
The warmer method includes storing garlic in a dark, dry area with temperatures between 55 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit, and humidity between 40 and 60%. Good air flow between bulbs is important as well.
Also, due to a low moisture content, garlic freezes well. Either peeled and chopped, or frozen whole, unpeeled.
Garlic begins to sprout by shooting green stalks out of individual cloves. You will typically first notice this when you begin cutting into cloves and notice that the center has a tiny green stem inside.
As the stem grows larger, it will eventually protrude from the clove and produce a green stalk. The green shoot can easily be removed from the center of the clove, and the clove still eaten. This does not impact taste. If you notice your garlic sprouting during the early winter months, you may wish to revisit your storage and keeping methods.
As always, should you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to reach out to us. Thank you for your support and we hope you enjoy our garlic!
Chris & Sloane