Be it pickling, freezing or any other method, preserving food has been imbibed in the culinary culture of many parts of the world. Preserving through many different methods is done to increase the shelf life of certain food ingredients. Garlic is one such ingredient that is preserved through various techniques. Did you know about one of the most popular one- braiding? I remember my grandmother tying the garlics together in braids, similar to how she used to do my hair when I was a kid. Not only is this method useful and can preserve the garlic bulbs up to six months if done right, it also looks decorative. This can be used for onions too. 

And while this was used by our ancestors regularly, over the years we have lost touch with it, mostly because it requires a certain level of time, patience and technique to make sure they last longer and remain fresh during that duration. For all its worth, braided garlic is so pleasing to the eye instead of looking at a bag full of garlic just lying around. Moreover, it is sustainable. 

So if you are looking to braid garlic to preserve it for long, here are some tips you must keep in  mind.  

1. Don't Wash The Garlic

While you may know this, but garlic bulbs shouldn’t be washed or cleaned. If they sre moist, they can go rotten easily in no time. So once out of the soil, do not make the mistake of washing or cleaning your garlic bulbs. Simply place it upside down to dry for 2-4 weeks on a rack, away from the sunlight, with good airflow. 

2. Don’t Pull By The Stem 

Pulling the garlic from its stem can disconnect the two which will make the garlic lose its strength for storage. Instead, you need to gently lift the garlic bulb from beneath along with extra mud for support. 

3. Clean When Completely Dried 

When the bulbs are fully dried, clean lightly with your dry hands or a brush, cut off the access roots, clean the outer muddy layer. 

4. Braid 

The simplest way to start braiding the garlic is to select three bulbs, place them crossing on top of each other and then tie together with a thread. Now place the next bulb in the center aligning the stalk up the middle, and braid from left to right.  

Have more tips to share? Let us know.