Store onions and garlic in an appealing braid that little hands can help with.

Braided Garlic

Photo by Mars Vilaubi

What kid doesn’t love braiding? Whether it’s a doll’s hair or a horse’s mane, children are drawn to this textural, tactile process. It’s engaging, showcases newfound manual dexterity, and creates something that looks good! Kids who learn to braid often find themselves braiding everything in sight.

Once your young homesteader has mastered the technique, he or she can easily learn to braid garlic and onions, too. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with simply trimming up dried stems and storing the garlic or onions in a mesh bag. But why not give kids a chance to help out while doing something they enjoy anyway?

The process for braiding onions and garlic is very similar to making a French braid. Your bulbs should be fully cured (i.e., the stems and foliage should be dry but still somewhat pliable) and cleaned of soil. If you’re braiding onions, start off with small bulbs, which will be easier to manage than large ones. If you’re working with garlic, make sure it’s a softneck variety; hardneck varieties are difficult to braid.

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    Step 1: Lay out two heads of garlic (A&B) and tie them together with a two-foot length of twine.

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    Step 2: Lay a third head (C) on top, with the stem resting in the middle with the length of twine. You’ll carry the twine all the way down the braid.

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    Step 3: Fold stem C, with the twine, under stem A. Place a fourth head (D).

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    Step 4: Fold stem B so that it follows stem D.

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    Step 5: Fold stem C (and the twine) over stems B & D.

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    Step 6: Place a fifth head (E) so that the stem follows C and the twine.

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    Step 7: Continue in this pattern until the braid is complete. Bundle the stems together and tie them off with the length of twine, making a loop from which to hang the braid.

Carleen Madigan

Before becoming an editor at Storey Publishing, Carleen Madigan was managing editor of Horticulture magazine and lived on an organic farm outside Boston, Massachusetts, where… See Bio

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