You can make an attractive Garlic Braid for your kitchen, or for a friend, by following these easy steps.
Allow about an hour and a half.
The garlic tops (leaves) should be dampened for the easiest, strongest, and best-looking braid.
Tools You Need
- old toothbrush
- 2 medium-sized bath towels
- pocket knife
Materials You Need
- 13 dried and cured, softneck garlic bulbs with long leaves
- Jute twine 36 in. long
Steps For Preparing The Garlic For Braiding
Step 1. Cut off the roots, leaving Ľ to ˝ inch, as desired.
Step 2. Brush with the tooth brush to remove any dirt.
Step 3. Remove the outermost bulb wrapper for a clean look. If not already broken, this wrapper can be most easily broken at the neck with a knife point or a fingernail. Be careful to break only one layer. Remove the bulb wrapper with the toothbrush, sliding the bristles into the broken edges until all parts of the wrapper are broken away and removed. (If the newly exposed wrapper is unattractive, it is usually safe to remove it also. Do not remove more than two).
Step 4. (optional). Remove the upper ‘stem’ part of the wrapper(s) just removed from the bulb. Break this layer loose with a knife point, thumbnail or scissor point.
Step 5. Soak one towel, and lay it out flat with one edge along the edge of a table.
Step 6. Place all the garlic tops in a row on the towel, with the bulbs hanging over the edge of the table.
Step 7. Soak the second towel, and lay it on top of the garlic tops.
Step 8. Adjust the towel edges carefully so that the entire top and ‘stem’ becomes damp right to the bulb.
Step 9. Wait 15-30 minutes for the garlic tops to become damp and pliable.
Step 10. Remove the upper towel.
Steps For Braiding The Garlic
Step 1. Select the 3 largest bulbs for beginning the bottom end of the braid.
Step 2. One of these three (Bulb 1) will be used for the Starting Knot. Give it extra pliability by squeezing the ‘stem’ just above the bulb, using your forefinger and thumbnail. Soften this as much as possible for about two inches.
Step 3. Assemble Bulbs 1, 2 and 3, as in Illustration A, with Bulb 1 on the bottom, and Bulb 3 centered on the top.
Step 4. Make the Starting Knot by bending the Bulb 1 ‘stem’ sharply backward over the ‘stems’ of Bulbs 2 and 3 (Illus. B), then under itself, and finally sharply forward again over the ‘stems’ of Bulbs 2 and 3 (Illus. C). The Bulb 1 ‘stem’ should now lie back in its original direction.
Step 5. Take the largest of the remaining bulbs (Bulb 4) and place it in the center so its stem lies with the middle ‘stem’, no. 3. (Illus. D).
Step 6. Bend the lowest ‘stem’ (no. 2) over the two middle ‘stems’ (nos. 3 & 4), as in Illus. E.
Step 7. Place Bulb 5 on the right side, its ‘stem’ with ‘stem’ no. 2, as the new center strand (Illus. F).
Step 8. Bend the lowest ‘stem’ (no. 1) over this center strand (nos. 2 & 5) and into a new center (Illus. G).
Step 9. Place Bulb 6 on the left, its ‘stem’ with ‘stem’ no. 1 in the new center (Illus. H).
Step 10. Bend the lowest strand (nos. 3 & 4) over the center strand (nos. 1 & 6) into position as the new center strand (Illus. I). Each strand now consists of two ‘stems’.
Continue by (a) adding bulbs in two more sets of three: center–right–left, center–right–left, (b) always securing in the new bulb with the lowest strand, (c) always bending this lowest side strand into a new center position, (d) keeping the bulb ‘stems’ short, the bends snug, and the braiding as tight as possible.
Step 11. Choose an attractive small bulb for the final one, no. 13, at top center.
Step 12. Continue braiding upward for 3-6 inches, as desired, keeping the braid tight.
Finishing The Garlic Braid
Step 1. Bind off the top very tightly with the twine and make a small loop on the backside for hanging. You will discover a variety of good ways to do this.
Step 2. Look over the entire braid for any loose ends. Pull these into the center of the braid and snip them off with the scissors.
Step 3. While the braid is still wet, any loose places may be squeezed together for greater uniformity.
Step 4. Let the braid dry flat for a day or so on a table or shelf.