Monday, 5 July 2010

Plaiting garlic

Today I plaited the garlic.

Plaiting braids from leaves, grasses and cereal stalks is a universal, simple and very portable activity. It isn't really necessary to look at the work, you can feel it and it doesn't require much thought, just a steady rhythm. The finished braids are found stitched together into baskets and mats all over the world.

The leaves of garlic are plaited with the bulb attached and don't require any stitching, they are just what they are, braids of garlic. It is a very practical way to store the garlic because every bulb is visible, making it easy to see which ones need eating first, it is also very decorative and it is one of the jobs I enjoy at this time of year. I always try a few different ways of doing it, usually because I have forgotten which method I liked best last year, and the only thing that seems critical is how dry the leaves are. Yesterday I tried doing it late in the afternoon but the leaves were very dry and brittle and kept breaking so I decided to do what I do with other leaves when I want to plait them and let the dew moisten them. I left the garlic out overnight and this morning they were soft and silky.

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