How to Braid Garlic

Beautiful and functional, garlic braids will help preserve the harvest while adding a dash of old-fashioned charm to any pantry.

By Jill Winger
Summer 2017

Braids

The way I see it, there are two very important reasons to braid softneck garlic. First, braiding your garlic will help it last longer in storage because air will be able to circulate around the bulbs more easily. Second, there’s just something beautiful and homey about a braid of garlic hanging in the kitchen — it’s certainly more aesthetically pleasing than just throwing bulbs into a mesh bag.

Before you can braid softneck garlic, you’ll have to harvest it. The exact timing of your garlic harvest will ultimately depend on when you plant the bulbs. Because I plant mine in fall — which I recommend for better yields — I’m able to harvest them the following August. You’ll know they’re ready to harvest when the tops begin to yellow and dry from the bottom up. Be sure to stop watering them at least a week prior to harvest so the ground is as dry as possible when you dig them up. The cloves should be well-developed, and the outer layer of the wrapper should be dry and papery. To harvest, carefully work along the sides of your garlic rows with a shovel or a potato fork to loosen the soil, and then use your hands to carefully remove the bulbs from the earth.

Drying