garlic braid is more than just a pretty kitchen accentit provides
a means for curing and storing garlic bulbs. Braiding the garlic stalks
not only ensures the bulbs get good air circulation for proper curing,
it helps to keep everything neat and tidy. What's more, the softneck varieties
of garlic keep longer when the foliage is left attached.
The diagrams below illustrate a simple braiding technique. You can make
a braid with as many bulbs as you wish, but a baker's dozen makes the
braid a practical size to give to friends. The braid can be assembled
about one week after harvesting, when the stalks are dry but still pliable.
Keep adding bulbs until they are all used, ending with a bulb in the
center. To finish the braid, continue to weave the stalks without adding
any more bulbs. Tie the ends with raffia or natural jute twine, add a
hanging loop, and trim the ends of the stalks. Hang the braid somewhere
dry, cool and away from direct sunlight, such as a garage or a cold storage
room and let the bulbs cure until the outer skins feel papery. Once cured,
the braid can be taken out of cold storage and hung on a kitchen wall.