Saturday, March 12, 2011

Green Garlic - The baby of the family

Spring Garlic
Photo Credit

Green garlic - yah, not something you really find in the supermarket. And would the common shopper even be able to scout it out among similar looking leeks, or green onions? Through my reading I have come to the conclusion that much like the cease of frost, the new green buds on my trees, and the warm(er) breeze that drafts through my open window, green garlic (which is also called "new garlic") is in essence "Spring" to a farmer. One of the first signs of the onset of Spring, green garlic and its brilliant green stalks, emerge from their Wintery hibernation proving new life to the sparse winter garden.

One of the ways you can tell green garlic from it's paternal counterfeits (leeks and green onions) is by scent and color. The base and roots do actually smell like garlic, where as leeks and green onions definitely have an onion scent. Next, green garlic's base and roots are white, but often marbled with purple or red. The heavenly act of cooking with garlic is no exception for this form of it - and can be taken advantage of much as a green onion should: a couple inches of the dark green stocks, all of the light green and on into the bulb - and get this, even the roots. The flavor is more mellow than it's fully matured garlic bulb brothers and sisters, but true to it's name it is still indeed garlic. This is one of the attractions of green garlic - it's reduction of pungency. Because green garlic is picked early (meaning, it has not had the opportunity to develop into a fully grown traditional bulb) the flavor is not as intense.

This stage in life for garlic has not always been so sought after. Farmers would often pull what we know as green garlic out to thin their crops, but now more increasingly than ever green garlic is grown to be young, much like the idea of baby squash, baby lettuce and so forth. This delicious ingredient can be taken advantage of by was of it's compliments as pasta sauces, pesto, stir fried with soy and sesame oil, added to potatoes and made into a soup, the list is endless. Green garlic may be the baby of the family, but has turned out to be an exceptional ingredient!

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