We harvested our garlic today.
Garlic is one of the few crops that seems to require almost no farming experience, to say nothing of its self-sufficiency.
You don’t need to weed garlic; heck, you don’t even need to water garlic. It is the only crop we have that grows exactly like a weed. Except way more delicious.
For the past three years, we’ve planted garlic in the late-autumn/early-winter and then harvested it sometime in July. From each harvest, we selected the biggest, firmest, most beautiful cloves to set aside for seed garlic for the next year’s planting–an exercise in allium eugenics that would’ve made Francis Galton proud.
And that exercise has paid off. This year’s garlic harvest is unquestionably the most fantastic and robust so far.
From the 200 or so plants we (Dave, actually… I wasn’t even home) pulled today, we’ll again choose the biggest, fattest ones to set aside for the fall. Estimating roughly five cloves to a head, we choose however many heads will give us the yield we want for next summer. Since we can’t seem to leave well enough alone, I’m guessing we’ll be looking at stashing somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 heads so we can have 300 plants.
Because… y’know… that’s even more.
But what does any of this have to do with hard-cooking eggs? Well, let me tell you.
So, to make room on the drying rack for today’s harvest, we had to take down the remnants of last year’s harvest. There were roughly two dozen heads left–scraggly, humiliated looking things that had been left on the drying rack (in the barn rafters) over the endless and freezing winter. The resulting product was frozen, yet usable; but not plump or pretty, to say the least.
I grabbed a large egg carton to hold the heads as I cleaned them. As I was cutting away the stems and roots of last year’s leftovers to prep them for storage, I noticed instructions printed on the inside lid of the carton. It said, “HOW TO HARD COOK AN EGG.”
Intrigued, I paused from my bulb bathing to see what wisdom the box lid would impart.
And, wouldn’t you know it, the box lid gave horrible advice!
When you can’t even trust the inside lid of your egg carton, who is there left to trust, really?
Anyway, what it said was the same thing almost all of us were taught from our mothers, home-economics teachers, and even (yes, it’s true) culinary school chef-instructors.
It said to put the eggs into cold water and bring it to a boil. It said that once it’s boiling, to cover it with a lid, remove it from the heat, and let it sit for 12 minutes. It said to cool the eggs under running water and then peel. And then, in the added “TIPS” section just below, it said that if your eggs are difficult to peel, you can roll them in your hands to crack the shell.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am here to call Shenanigans! on this misleading bit of direction.
We all know that this method doesn’t always work; it has frustrated countless humans; it is imperfect and there has to be a better way.
And there is.
And here it is.
HOW TO HARD COOK AN EGG: Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add eggs. Boil for 15 minutes. Cool eggs immediately in an ice bath. Peel. That’s it.
I personally guarantee that if you do this exactly this way, every single egg you ever hard-boil for the rest of your days will be perfectly cooked and ridiculously easy to peel, every single time.
And if I’m wrong, I’ll give you a head of garlic.