Friday, 7 September 2012

Drying onions, garlic and shallots

onions drying in the sun
Lads what a cracker of a week it has turned out to be. In that remarkable way that Murphy's law has of proving every cynic right as soon as the children go back to school the sun comes out.Still I'm not complaining. My school days are over. And I'm in no rush back to the whiteboard either.....

On the plus side it's perfect weather for drying your onions, garlic and shallots just by digging them up and laying them on top of the beds in the sun.I say DIG because if you try to pull them out you will end up on your arse clasping a handful of stem while the onion/garlic/shallot remains stubbornly in the ground. If you must be lazy- be lazy with the onions,after all they are practically sitting on the top of the soil.But dig out the garlic, it has pretty tenacious roots and will not budge unless it grew on a sand dune!

garlic drying with shallots
The other reason not to go grabbing onions/garlic/shallots by the stems and yanking them is that damage to the stem can deteriorate the bulb in storage. This is particularly true of onions, the neck of the onion is it's vunerable point. You must make sure this part is fully dried out too, or rot will set in a few months into storage. I think it takes several weeks, most of it indoors because of our damp climate, to really get them dry and papery. If you have space in the tunnel or glasshouse all the better but failing that put them on a sunny path, in the lee of the house or shed to get the first few weeks of sunshine and heat. After that move them to the North side of the house, keep them dry, and let them finish drying for a few more weeks. All of them are great long term keepers in a shed or cool outhouse once they got enough time to really dry out. Give them that time!

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