The story behind German Red Garlic. July is the time of year when I come home smelling of garlic no matter how many times I scrub my hands with Sage Botanical’s Gardener’s Soap
. Last October, Christopher and I filled one of the Kitchen Garden raised beds with 50 German Red Garlic
seeds. As the crisp smell of Fall breezed passed us, we carefully tucked each clove into the fertile soil. Using leftover straw bales from Fall Festival’s “Hay” Castle, we covered the bed and let it be until early spring. In March, it was a delight to see the green tops poking out of the ground as the snow melted and the early planting season begun. I would reach my fingers through the golden straw and sneak peaks at the light green shoots ready for longer days and warmer afternoons. In May, I thinned the patch, keeping the “green” garlic bulbs I pulled, knowing they are a delicious mild spring treat. The bulbs I plucked out had not yet formed the hard coating around each clove, making them united - as if daring me to eat it like an apple. I sliced the bulb thin, right down the middle like an onion, and understood why some people consider this Recambole subspecies to be the best tasting garlic out there. Later, in June, I harvested the scapes of this heirloom hardneck variety and sautéed them with collard greens and swiss chard. Each delightful taste gets me even more excited for the cured garlic coming soon. This month, I will harvest, bundle, and hang the fully developed garlic and let it cure in the veggie shack for 4-6 weeks. I am anxious to finally taste the velvety rich flavor of cured German Red Garlic. I will share it with my friends, family, and a few lucky CSA members. I will be sure to remember to hold back and save some of the finest bulbs for seed and plant again this fall.