9.14.2016

Dipping Our Toes in the Garlic Harvesting Process

   Thanks to help from some of our friends here in town and my favorite gardening forums, our first ever garlic crop went stinkin' good!
   Here's a link that will catch you up on our project, from the fun and "veryyy interesting" planting process, next to the harvesting of the danged stuff, then how I experimented with the knotting and braiding of the garlic strands with my big ol' "Cappy fingers" and then tried drying it as best we could in our steamy environment of wet and sunny South Louisiana. Read here:
http://cappyandpegody.blogspot.com/2016/06/our-first-garlic-bed-from-planting-to.html 
   So, now that the braids have been hanging in the cabinet for a couple of months, being admired from time to time by us, one day when Peg cut off a bulb to use in one of our dishes, we were alarmed to find that several of the heads were turning brown and almost mushy!!  Oh NO! Not after all that work! 
   We hurriedly clipped the heads from the remaining braids, and I sat and "processed" them all by separating them into individual garlic toes, wondering the whole time what in the world we were going to do right away to save them. I tole Peg I was doing the hard part, separating them and that I was leaving her the easiest part, peeling all of them. She just gave me a dim look and sniffed. What??  
   Well, I found out "what", cuz it took both of us about all day to do it, working tag-team. Oh sure, it's easy peelin' 'em when ya mash 'em first on the cutting board just before you use 'em in a skillet for whatever you are about to cook, but leaving them whole and trying to peel the thin paper skin off...? The skins fight tooth and nail, sticking to each and every little toe of garlic, then, too, ya end up with sticky, goopy, garlicky fingers that makes the job so much harder with such a mess, that ya gotta get up and go wash yer hands every now and then, fuming the whole time yer doin' it. We thought it would never end!  (We'll have to google and look for easier ways to do it in the future.) 
  While it was Peg's turn to fight with 'em, I got online and called around, researching what in the world we might could do with them so they wouldn't spoil. Armed with lots of information, we decided to forget most of it and take the advice of our good friend Sam, who's gardened most of his life and knows a lot. He's given us great advice in the past, so when he said we should stick our toes in olive oil, that's just exactly what we did. We put the now nekkid garlic toes in canning jars and topped them off with olive oil, then parked them in the fridge.

You will notice that the big jar on the right there, isn't full of garlic. Since we didn't have enough toes to fill it, Peggy wandered outside and came back in with a handful of Rosemary (who seems to be holding her own this year). Peg said this way we could try what all the food channels talked about when they mentioned "infused" olive oil. We could have stuck in a number of other things, as well, but this was what she wanted to start with...see how it comes out, etc.

Sam recommended that we wait a couple of weeks to let it infuse...flavor up the oil before we tried it. You know me...I could hardly wait to try it, so after about a week, I did. The oil is taking on a wonderful garlic taste and hopefully will get more flavorful as time goes on.

  Meanwhile, while Peg was busy in the computer room, I sneaked out a little spoonful of the garlic infused olive oil, took it in to Peg, who was totally preoccupied and tole her to taste what I had in the spoon. (I did this to her one time with a heaping big tablespoon of cod liver oil and 'innocently' told her to taste it, not telling her what is was. She absolutely refused, so I put the whole spoonful in my own mouth and pretended it was yummy, but she still wouldn't do it. Gah! I 'scolded' her,"Do you know what I went through trying not to show I was gagging?" It was horrible. Curses! "hoist with my own petard", like  Peg's ol' Shakespeare liked to say.) 

 So now back to the other day, she musta not trusted me now, an' that was years ago. She sipped a tiny bit of the garlic olive oil and said, "Gah! It almost tastes like fish oil...what is it?"

Well, that kinda hurt my feelings, but when I told her it was our garlic infused olive oil, she smacked her lips a couple of times, furrowed one brow and said, "Oh yeah...heh heh...our olive oil...yeah, mebbe it does kinda taste a little like garlic olive oil," (totally redeeming herself) then followed directly on my heels as I headed back to the kitchen. 
    I minced up three of the garlic toes and cooked them in a ground meat, macaroni, tomato dish that my Mama used to call "dog food", but Peggy's family calls it goulash...but instead of tomatoes, I used her homemade BBQ sauce...it was SO delicious we coulda slapped both our Mamas, it was that good!  
 Now, even tho' we're supposed to wait 'til the olive oil gets more infused, I secretly can't wait to wait to nibble on Rosemary's toes...and I don't think Peg will mind, either. :-D 






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