Elephant garlic is actually a member of the leek family, and it is preferred by many as a substitute for traditional garlic, as it has great garlic flavor but is not as pungent. Elephant garlic also, as its name implies, has larger cloves than traditional garlic, and for this reason it is often used in salads and stir-fry dishes. The harvesting and storage of elephant garlic follows the same basic principles of regular garlic, and there are a few tips you should follow in order to keep your elephant garlic fresh and flavorful.
Stop watering elephant garlic at least two weeks before harvest time. The professionals at Boundary Garlic Farm report that over-watering can actually damage the garlic bulbs' skin and make them difficult to store.
Examine the leaves to see if the elephant garlic is ready to harvest. When several of the stalks turn yellow, and dry, but at least two green stalks remain, the elephant garlic is ready. If it is rainy out, however, wait until a dry day to harvest, as rain and wet can damage the garlic bulbs.
Loosen the soil around one bulb of garlic using your cultivator or potato fork.
Lift the bulb out of the ground gently and loosen the dirt from around the bulb. Be careful to not damage the bulb wrapper. If this bulb is adequate in size, then continue to harvest the rest of the elephant garlic bulbs.
Lay the garlic out in a bright, breezy area to dry. A sunny porch, where it will be protected from rain, is ideal. You can also braid the garlic bulbs together and hang them to dry. Braiding the bulbs while a couple of the stalks, but not bulbs, are still somewhat moist makes for longer storage life. Tie some twine at the end of the braid for hanging.
Store your elephant garlic in a dry area with good airflow.
Things You Will Need
- Cultivator or potato fork
- Save one or two healthy bulbs for next year's garlic seed.
- Garlic must remain dry in storage, so moist areas of the refrigerator are not recommended.