Fresh garlic must be cured before long-term storage. Braiding is a convenient and attractive way to bundle fresh soft neck garlic for both curing and storage, without buying, saving or storing the all-too-often used alternative: plastic bags. Braids afford efficient use of vertical space in storage, and they make an awesome gift for food lovers and fellow gardeners alike. After harvesting your garlic, allow the stems to wilt for a few days, but do not allow them to get brittle-dry, before braiding.
Roots help the bulb to dry, and can be left intact for the curing period. Before long-term storage, the roots should be cut off, being careful not to remove the hardened root base. This will help the cloves stay juicy in storage.
Next bring the stem from the right to the middle, while keeping everything tight.
Now bring the stem on the left to the middle, keeping everything tight. At this point, you may or may not be ready to add more bulbs into the braid, depending on the sizes of the bulbs and stems. If the bulbs are large or the stems are skinny, you may need to cross the right over the middle, and left over the middle one or more times before adding the next bulbs.
Now cross the right stem over the two middle stems. Now the two stems are on the right and there are single stems in the middle and on the left.
Gently remove the outer layers of the wrapper, just enough to get rid of the dirt. A thick, dry wrapper will help to protect the bulb during months of storage.
Add bulbs into the braid one at a time. After crossing from left to middle, lay the new stem parallel to the existing middle stem (the new bulb is on the left side).
Next add a second stem parallel to the middle stem (its bulb is on the left side).
Lay the third new stem in the middle (its bulb will also be in the middle). Continue braiding by crossing right over middle and left over middle, keeping the parallel stems together and adding new bulbs into the braid in the same way. In this way it is possible to have braids of 9, 12, 15 or more bulbs.
How To Braid And Cure Fresh Garlic
Now cross the left stem over the two middle stems. At this point there are two stems on the left, two on the right, and one in the middle.
Fold the top stem over the bottom one.
After the final bulbs have been added, continue the braid for a few inches to ensure that they are well secured. A knotted loop of twine is all you need to finish it off. Walla!
Begin the braid by making an X with two bulbs.
Separate the prepared garlic into groups of similarly sized bulbs. This helps ensure that the braids store well, as similarly sized bulbs will perform similarly in storage.
Bring the folded stem up through the middle. You are using the same motion as when you begin tying your shoelaces.
Add a third bulb by placing it in the middle with its stem on top of the first two crossed stems.