We had a couple of issues with our garlic crop this year. After a super beautiful and abundant start to the season, things turned grey towards the end with garlic rust creeping in swiftly and then at the very end, we had a few specks of the dreaded white root rot show up. Booo!
As a result, we pulled our crop a few weeks early to salvage what we could, dried and sorted it into what needed eating now and the stuff that can hang out for the year. Which brings us to the situation of what do you do with a big bowl of garlic which needs eating right now. Preserve it of course. One of my favourite ways of doing this also happens to be dead easy – a recurring theme in things I’m attracted to. All you need is garlic, tamari and some clean jars.
We were actually happily surprised by the size of most of our garlic, we ended up cutting off their tops as they were riddled with rust and we hated the thought of it contaminating us, our house, everything. We’re just a touch paranoid.
You can see the signs of white root rot creeping into this corm. Not a good sign. Even though we’ve been drying this garlic out for around a month, if you break the corm open it’s still uncomfortably moist and gross directly beneath the areas of the white root rot (see below photo). The fear is that this will slowly but surely destroy the whole corm. And so we start preserving.
Preserving garlic is also a fantastic opportunity for people like me to practice patience, which is not a naturally occurring tendency for me. Put some nice music on or a radio podcast, get comfy and start peeling garlic.
Pop them whole or halve them (optional) into a clean glass jar, just make sure they’re nice and snug so they’re compact.
Enter tamari! Tamari originated from Japan and is the liquid by-product from making miso (fermented soy beans). It is not soy sauce, but does taste similar, i.e. salty – it’s also gluten free (unlike soy sauce). Due to its high salt content it’s a brilliant preserving agent and incredibly tasty. Simply fill the jar to the top, covering all the garlic cloves, I’ve found that it doesn’t matter if the top layer ticks it head out, so you can relax about that.
Finally, just pop on a lid and store on your shelves out of direct sunlight. It’s best if you leave it there for around 6 months before opening so it can get super flavoursome, but it will still taste amazing after 3 months as well. What you end up with is two tasty products, the tamari can be used in cooking and is infused with garlic flavour – it’s so so good. And of course the garlic cloves can be chopped up and used fresh or in cooking. You can literally store this indefinitely – it want go off, in the past I’ve had jars of this last years.
All we can say is, thanks goodness for age old, easy preserving techniques, they’re life (and food) savers!
And for good measure, here’s some of our healthy, beautiful garlic