About green garlic

March 10, 2014

About green garlic

Green garlic is young garlic that is harvested before the cloves have begun to mature. It is also sometimes called spring garlic and baby garlic. It includes the whole plant: roots, nascent bulb, leaves and stalk, and sometimes a flower stalk also. Green garlic resembles overgrown scallions or green onions, with a deep green stalk and a pale white bulb. Garlic flowers are like exploding fireworks.

When garlic is grown to make the garlic most of us are used to, it is harvested when the lower part of the stalk visible above the ground starts to turn brown.  By then the underground bulb, or head, has been compartmentalized into distinct garlic cloves. It is then cured so that it will last in storage.

In our climate, mature garlic is typically harvested in May-June, whereas green garlic is harvested in February-March, when the stalks are still totally green. The whole green garlic plant, including the leaves, can be used raw or cooked. When cooked, green garlic sweetens, lending a new layer of depth to a dish. To use, trim off root ends and the tough part of the green leaves. Chop or slice the rest and use as you would green onions or garlic, noting that it is stronger than the former but milder than the latter.

Green garlic can be stored under refrigeration up to a week. It will not cure like mature garlic, so make sure not to let it sit for too long.

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