PEAR & BERRY GALETTE + How To: Grow Garlic

June 26th, 2013

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This weekend we passed the shortest day of the year. In New Zealand, we also celebrate Matariki – the Māori New Year – around the shortest day (the official date changes each year depending the stars). Matariki is a time to give thanks for last years harvest and prepare for the year to come. A time of new beginnings, and reflection, looking at our lives and making changes (resolutions) for the year ahead.

The winter solstice (June 21st) is also traditionally when garlic is planted in the southern hemisphere. However, garlic can be planted as early as March (update: which can be helpful to avoid/limit rust in spring). Planting on the shortest day means the garlic bulbs will be harvested 6 months later on the longest day (22nd Dec), making room for more summer plants i.e. green beans.

Growing Garlic

Even if you have a small garden space (or even a container garden) you can still grow a decent crop and hopefully, save some as ‘seed’ (the largest cloves) to plant the following year. Here is how I grow garlic:

  1. Select large organic garlic bulbs, preferably locally grown – commercial garlic from the supermarket may not sprout, especially if it is imported.
  2. Separate the bulbs into cloves and choose the largest cloves for planting (we plant approx 80-100 cloves each year). Each clove will grow into a whole garlic bulb.
  3. Prepare the garden bed. Work in compost if needed, plus we add a handful of blood and bone per metre. Mark out the planting space by laying the cloves on top of the soil, approx 15cm apart with 20cm spaced rows. I arrange them in a diamond/diagonal grid.
  4. Use your thumb to make 6-8cm deep holes in the soil and drop a clove, tail pointing up, into each hole. The sprout will grow out from the tail and push up to the sun. Mulch with straw or autumn leaves, and water if necessary.
  5. Over the next months watch the little shoots push through the soil and grow into long onion like shoots. Weed as needed and keep the ground mulched to retain heat and moisture. Spray with organic seaweed fertiliser once a month.
  6. Garlic doesn’t need a lot of watering, unless you live somewhere very dry. The soil should feel slightly damp, but neither dry nor soggy. And ideally there should be several weeks of dry weather before harvesting so the mature bulbs don’t get mouldy.
  7. Traditionally garlic is harvested on the shortest day – 22nd December. However, if you planted earlier than the shortest day then record the planting date and aim to harvest 6 months later. When the green shoots begin to turn yellow is the sign they are ready to harvest.
  8. Once harvested hang the bulbs in a warm dry place to dry for several weeks before using or plaiting into garlic ropes for storing.

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Pear & Berry Galette

Once the gardening is done and dusted for the day - including planting four nut trees and pruning the fruit trees - it was time for a little snack. I like to make this rustic style tart - galette - in winter from apples or pears and a handful of frozen homegrown berries. However, it also makes a fine summer tart using cherries and berries. I love making pies and tarts but don’t particularly enjoy the process of making pastry. This free-form tart has no fiddly tart case to line, no blind baking; simply roll, top with fruit, gather the edges and bake. I used spelt flour but standard white flour will work fine too.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups white spelt flour or standard white flour
  • 1/2 cup ground walnuts or almonds or use 1/2 cup extra flour
  • 2 tablespoons raw sugar plus extra for sprinkling
  • Pinch of salt
  • 150 g cold butter cubed
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 1 free-range egg
  • handful of fine polenta for sprinkling
  • 4 firm pears
  • approx. 1/2 cup frozen berries I used homegrown blackberries

Instructions

  • Put the flour, ground nuts, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and salt into a food processor bowl and pulse to combine. Add the cubed butter and process into a breadcrumb-like texture. Add the lemon zest and egg and pulse half a dozen times to come together into a ball. Lay a length of plastic wrap on the bench and tip the pastry onto this. Work quickly to shape into a flat disc. Wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven 180C. Peel the pears, core, and cut into thin wedges.
  • Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll out between two pieces of greaseproof baking paper to make a 30cm diameter circle about 3mm thick. Slide onto a baking tray and remove the top layer of paper. Sprinkle the middle of the circle (about 25cm leaving 5cm for the edging) with fine polenta - this will soak up the fruit juices as the pie cooks.
  • Arrange the pears evenly onto the circle of polenta and scatter with berries. Now rustically and lovingly gather up the edges of the pastry gently folding together to create a free-form edge. It should hold in the fruit while still leaving fruit visible in the middle. Sprinkle lightly with extra sugar. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the pastry is golden and the fruit is tender. Serve warm with natural yogurt.

Notes

*This versatile tart, can also be made into a savoury dish. Omit the sugar from the pastry and add a little chopped thyme or rosemary. Fold herb pesto through cubed roasted vegetables (pumpkin, parsnip, carrots, potatoes), pile onto the pastry and sprinkle with crumbled sheep feta. Fold up the pastry and bake as above.

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Join the Conversation

  1. This galette looks gorgeous, Nicola. I must admit, I’m not fussed on making pastry either – I’m a bit phobic about it – but this looks achievable even for me. Do you think you could use coconut flour instead of spelt flour or white flour, or if you were using coconut flour would you need to combine it with other flours? I didn’t get around to planting my garlic on the shortest day, but hoping to do it this weekend. Last year I didn’t do it until early August I think it was and the resulting bulbs were very small – hoping to do better this year 🙂
    xo

    1. I haven’t tried making pastry with coconut flour. I find it is very dry and I don’t imagine it will make a good crust. You could try combining it with the flour but you would need a lower ratio of coconut flour. For example I made banana bread with coconut flour and only used 1/2 cup while would have used 1 1/2 cups (gluten-free) flour. So really not sure if it would work. Will do some research later and see what I can find.
      Good luck with the garlic growing 🙂

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