Here in the Arizona Desert; we plant garlic in October.
Though we can harvest some of the green part of the plant throughout the growing season; we do not harvest the bulbs until May of the following year. But oh what a delightful harvest!
One little clove will produce a whole nother (Donna, what kind of grammar is that?) bulb of several cloves. Because I interplant the cloves with my other plants as a companion; the garlic does not take up very much room.
So in May, when I harvest I am repeatedly surprised by the Abundance of garlic I receive from my meager planting.
Once I have selected and set aside the biggest and best garlic bulbs for planting the following year; I am amazed at all the beautiful garlic in front of me and do not want to waste a single clove.
I know that I have to keep the garlic spread out to completely dry, or I will end up with damp garlic that molds and rots. But there are other ways to preserve this garlic.
My favorite way is to make garlic pickles. This is a mixture of 1 cup of red wine vinegar to 1 Tblsp of sea salt that I can place the peeled cloves in and store in the refrigerator all year long. I like to use a one pint wide mouth canning jar with a plastic lid.
I have been known to make my own garlic powder, by putting the cloves in the dehydrator until they dry out, and then whir the dried garlic in a coffee grinder. Please remember to do this all outside, wear gloves and a mask. I also find that by doing this on the back porch, it seems to permeate everything and keep the mosquitoes away.
I never store my garlic in oil. I know, I know, that is how it is sold in the store. But they do something magical with that mixture to keep out botulism. I am not comfortable enough with my garlic magic, to attempt that.
I have learned to make honey fermented garlic for taking internally. Put peeled cloves in a jar, cover with honey and set on the counter. Give it a stir once a day. I am told that it takes about a month to get it just right. I chop these cloves up and use them in salads or spreads.
Garlic is a natural parasite control for both humans and animals. I have friends from other cultures that can eat raw garlic with no problem. I am not able to do that, but I can eat it fermented in honey. Steve will not do it. (So he will just have to stay worm-y.) My goats/sheep and pigs will eat the cloves whole. I chop up the dried leaves for the chickens. I sneak the cloves into peanut butter for Cody. I have been told that too many are bad for dogs. He gets one clove per day and seems to be pretty much alive.
I do freeze garlic, but I will say that once thawed; it is mushy. So this is not my favorite way to store it.
I have read many on line articles that say that garlic has properties that help our heart and liver, boost our metabolism of iron, prevent cancer, and fight against bacteria and viruses. I have also read that eating garlic may do something magic to the chemistry of your blood; making it unappealing to those little demons that many people call mosquitoes.
So just how much garlic do I consume? The recommendation is to eat one or two cloves per day. I am not there yet, but I am trying. I know some people who eat so much garlic, that they actually smell like it. Since I am a hugger, I do not want that to be part of my experience.
So, if you are a garlic lover-you too can grow your own while you are figuring out the balance of how much to eat without smelling like you are trying to ward off vampires.