Garlic Curing Instructions and Recipe

Curing Garlic

After garlic is harvested it needs to be cured. In curing the energy from the leaves goes into the bulbs as they dry. Remove any chunks of dirt from the roots, being careful not to bruise the garlic. Leave the roots on as they have a moderating effect on the drying rate.
If you have a small amount you can spread the plants out where they are protected from the sun and rain and there is good air circulation. 
We hang the plants -  5 to 10. The appropriate number of plants in a string depends on their size and moisture level at harvest. You want the circulating air to be able to reach all sides of all bulbs. Hang the strings out of direct light where it is warm with good air circulation - a temperature of 27°C (80°F) is ideal and 4-6weeks drying time is ideal. This way the bulbs dry evenly and without spoilage. You want the wrappers to dry and the garlic to retain its moisture and oils.
We hang our garlic in an open shed in a breezy location. If you do not have enough air movement use fans.4-6 weeks


We recommend that you select your own seed first. Select good sized, fully mature bulbs with nice plump healthy cloves and set these aside for planting. If you are planting in the fall you do not need to do as much cleaning as you do for selling or long term storage.
Cleaning consists of trimming the leaves and roots and removing the dirty outer wrappers.
If the roots are crispy dry the roots and dirt will come off with a couple of rubs with a glove, leaving a short brush of roots. If the roots have picked up humidity you will need to trim them with snips, leaving 1 or 2 cm (1/2 to 1 inch). For many markets it is acceptable for the roots to be a little dirty - a quick brush with a glove on the trimmed roots is enough..
Trim the tops, being careful not to cut the skins protecting the individual cloves. Leave enough stem on hardnecks to make cracking easy.
The papery wrapping protects the garlic and keeps it fresh. Remove just the dirtiest outer layers of wrappers.
Place the clean bulbs in clean mesh bags or horticulture boxes, well labelled.
Damaged cloves spoil easily. Put aside any bulbs with soft cloves for immediate use. The good cloves from these bulbs are excellent for garlic pickles or dried garlic.
Drying garlic is an easy and safe way to keep garlic indefinitely. Choose fresh, firm, flavourful cloves with no bruises and follow these simple directions.
  1. Peel the garlic cloves.
  2. Slice the garlic thinly. A food processor works well.
  3. Dry the garlic until crisp. In a dehydrator you have a choice of faster, hotter drying or slower, cooler drying. We dry our garlic for two days at about 45°C (115°F).
  4. Store the garlic. Dried garlic may be stored at room temperature in an airtight container. If you store the dried garlic in the freezer in the form of flakes, and then grind it close to the time when you will be using the garlic it will keep its amazing freshness for more than a year.
  5. Grind the garlic. A blender gives you a mixture of powder and granules which you can separate using a fine and a coarse seive. A coffee grinder not used for coffee is good for turning garlic flakes into powder.
  6. Freezing Chop peeled cloves and tuck into snack size bags, freezing in a thin layer. To use, just break off a piece of the frozen layer. Alternatively, you can flash freeze garlic—whole cloves or chopped—on a parchment-lined tray. Toss the frozen garlic into freezer bags.

Garlic Bread

Make some garlic butter. Slice a crusty loaf of bread almost to the bottom crust and spread the garlic butter between the slices. Wrap loosely in aluminum foil and bake in a medium hot oven (350°F-375°F) for about 20 minutes.
Garlic Bread
Garlic Bread with Garlic Butter

Garlic Butter

Garlic butter is wonderful on grilled meats, on fish, and on steamed vegetables.
1/4 cup butter
crushed garlic, to taste (start with a cautious two medium cloves)
2 teaspoons finely minced parsley (optional)
1 teaspoon lemon juice (optional)
Work the butter on a plate with a knife or spoon until it is slightly soft. You don’t want the butter too soft. Work in the crushed garlic, chopped parsley and lemon juice. Pour off any extra lemon juice. Refrigerate until firm. Put a pat of garlic butter on top of the hot food as it is served.

Garlic Dipping Sauce

When we are having a tasting session I make a generous amount of one of the basic sauces. Then the only differences in flavour are from the differences in the varieties of garlic. The proportions of yogurt and mayonnaise or cream cheese may be varied. In basic sauce 1 cut back the vinegar if more yogurt is used.
Basic sauce 1
For basic sauce 1 combine:
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
Basic sauce 2
For the basic sauce 2 combine:
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup soft cream cheese
Divide the base into as many dishes as you have garlic varieties you want to compare. To each dish add enough crushed garlic of one variety to get a good but not overpowering garlic taste and label the dish with the variety name.
Dip raw or steamed veggies in the sauces. Tender crisp steamed broccoli is especially delicious served this way.

Pasta with Garlic and Oil

This is one of the easiest and tastiest dishes imaginable and a wonderful way to experience the pure flavour of a new garlic variety. If you are comparing several varieties of garlic, cook each variety separately and toss with a portion of the pasta.
Slice garlic into thin, even slices - about three large cloves per person. Add enough good olive oil to almost cover the garlic. Sauté over medium heat until they begin to colour. Pour over freshly cooked spaghetti or noodles, toss and serve.
Variations to try once you have made your initial assessment of the garlic:
  • Add dried chilies to the oil along with the garlic.
  • Add a handful of fresh chopped herbs to the pasta and garlic as you toss it.

How much garlic?

Most recipes call for a certain number of cloves of garlic. This is not really helpful because:
  • cloves vary in size by more than a factor of ten
  • garlic varieties vary greatly in strength
  • people’s taste for garlic varies as much as the cloves do
Tip - Why the Flavour of Garlic Changes with Time - Allicin and the Chemistry of Garlic
Allicin is the potent antimicrobial (substance that kills bacteria and other pathogens) that is formed when you crush garlic. Allicin is also responsible for the fresh clean smell of newly crushed garlic. Garlic does not contain allicin. It contains the precursor, alliin and the enzyme allinase in different cells. When garlic is crushed the two come together in a moist environment to form allicin. Allicin in turn breaks down over a period of days.

Cooked or Raw?

Raw garlic can pack a punch, and that is what many garlic lovers are looking for. It is used extensively in dips and dressings for raw and cooked vegetables, and in specialty dishes like pesto, hummus and gazpacho. If you are preparing food for people who may not be garlic lovers, go gently with the raw garlic.
Cooking quiets garlic down. Boiling garlic turns the lion into a lamb. Frying garlic transforms the flavour exquisitely, and transfers it to the oil. How much garlic to use is the cook’s aesthetic choice.
So you use your judgment and experiment. With raw garlic start cautiously and add more to taste. Cooked garlic is more forgiving and so you can start with a little or a lot.
Tip - Choosing a Cooking Oil
Most of the common cooking oils - canola, soybean and corn - have a very high probability of containing genetically modified ingredients. We have tried many oils and mostly use an olive oil. 

Garlic Vinaigrette

Here is a classic recipe for a garlic salad dressing that goes well with a wide variety of salads.
1/4 cup pure apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
one or more cloves of garlic, crushed, chopped or sliced
Shake the first four ingredients together and taste. There should be a nice balance with no one ingredient dominating. Adjust if necessary, and then add the garlic.
Choose a garlic that you like the taste of raw. Spanish Roja is one of my favourites; it is milder and more subtle than many of the others. For some people the hotter the better. For them I might choose Leningrad, which is very pungent. When I have time to let the dressing sit for an hour or so I slice the garlic thinly and let it marinate. The flavour of this dressing changes over time and so I prefer to make it up fresh every day.
When I was testing the recipe for exact quantities I used extra virgin olive oil. I used my garlic press for instant flavour and squished in one large clove of Puslinch, a Rocambole garlic. The vinaigrette was so delicious that my husband and I sat down and demolished a plain bowl of iceberg lettuce with this dressing.

Garlic Pickle Recipes

Korean Pickled Garlic

For some people this was the favouite pickle at the testing and for others the garlic was overwhelmed by the soy flavour. Tim sent us this recipe which he found on the Vessey & Company website and used with great success. We made it with peeled garlic cloves and that worked well.
  • 1 quart unpeeled garlic cloves
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 4 cups soy sauce
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  1. Place garlic in a jar. Add vinegar and enough water to cover garlic. The cloves must be fully covered, not floating on top.
  2. Close jar and let stand for one week, then drain.
  3. Boil the soy sauce and sugar for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  4. Pour cooled soy mixture over garlic and seal jar.
The garlic will be ready to eat in 3 weeks. To eat, bite or cut the tips from the cloves, and suck out the meat. If the skins are tender, you can eat the whole thing. The younger the garlic, the more tender the skins.
Korean Pickles - left
"The Garlic News" Pickles - right


"The Garlic News" Pickled Garlic

This recipe was given by Audrey to garlic guru Paul Pospisil and he says it is the best he has come across. All the taste testers liked it. A nice, crisp pickle. It is an excellent vehicle for showcasing the different garlics. We made it without the optional spices. Baba Franchuk’s made an excellent, flavourful pickle with this recipe. Some of the milder garlics were considered a bit bland.
  • 2 cups peeled garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
  • 1 bay leaf or whole cloves or picling spices (optional)

Bring all ingredients to a boil in a pot. Cook one minute. Put in covered jar and refrigerate 24 hours.

Pickled Garlic with Red Pepper

A mild pickle, very pretty. Those who prefer mild pickles loved it and those who were looking for a stronger, more garlicky flavour found it uninteresting.
  • 1/2 lb peeled garlic cloves
  • 1 large fresh sweet red bell pepper, seeded and slivered
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
  • 1/2 tsp celery seed
Peel garlic. Leave small cloves whole. Cut large cloves in half. Combine with red pepper.
Measure vinegar and sugar into saucepan. If desired, place mustard seed and celery seed in cotton bag and put in saucepan. May also be left loose. Heat on medium-high, stirring frequently, until it boils. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper. Return to boil and boil 3 more minutes. Discard spice bag. Fill hot, sterilized jars with red peppers and garlic to within 1 inch of top. Fill with hot brine to 1/4 inch of top. Seal.
Let stand several weeks before serving. If not sealed, keep in the fridge.
Tip - Why Garlic in Vinegar Turns Blue or Green
Sometimes garlic in vinegar turns blue/green. Changing the pH with vinegar brings about changes in the pigments in the cut garlic. Although undesirable, the changes in colour do not make the garlic unsafe to eat. It is reported that garlic which has been stored for four weeks above 23°C prior to processing does not change colour

Herb Garlic Salt

 To make garlic salt that has a more interesting flavour use a more Alberta garlic!
3 parts table salt or sea salt
1 part your favourite garlic powder
Although many recipes call for garlic salt, I usually prefer to add the salt and garlic powder separately. This gives me more control over the seasoning and allows me more variety in the garlic flavours I use. However, I do like shortcuts.
If you have a favourite combination of herbs you use frequently why not make up a batch of herb garlic salt. For example:
2 parts Italian seasoning
1 part garlic powder
1 part black pepper
2 parts salt
This herb and garlic mixture works well on lots of dishes.

Easy Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Boil potatoes until tender, drain, mash with milk or cream, butter and salt. Add a generous amount of the powdered garlic of your choice and freshly ground black pepper if desired.
The flavour of the garlic will intensify in the next few minutes so stop short of the full garlic taste you are looking for. Serve the mashed potatoes as is or, for a spectacular finish, top with fresh herbs and sautéed garlic or garlic butter.

Easy Burgers

lean ground beef
fresh ground pepper
garlic granules
Heat frying pan with a little oil. Cut 1/2 inch slices off the hunk of ground beef and place in the hot pan. Sprinkle with fresh ground black pepper and garlic granules. When half way cooked turn over and sprinkle with more pepper and garlic. When thoroughly cooked serve on a plate with veggies, or on a bun or toast.


Make pizza according to your usual recipe. Cover the dough with tomato sauce and sprinkle gourmet garlic granules before covering with cheese and other toppings. The garlic granules will re-hydrate during cooking.

Mushroom Soup

a can of mushroom soup made according to the label directions
a grating of nutmeg
a pinch of  garlic powder
 They craftily changed the soup from ordinary, canned to delicious, might-be-homemade.

Garlic Mayonnaise

Dried garlic is more stable than fresh garlic. This mayonnaise will keep a couple of days in the fridge without a noticeable change in flavour.
Blend 1 teaspoon gourmet garlic powder into 1/4 cup mayonnaise.
Garlic Curing Instructions and Recipe
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