Gourmet Garlic

January 20, 2006

Think you’re a garlic lover? Well here’s a surprise for you, if you use store bought garlic cloves, you haven’t experienced really great tasting garlic. For that you have to sample a variety or two of the gourmet garlics that you’ll never find on the shelves of your local supermarket, but can be easily grown in your own backyard.

Commercial garlic is, for the most part, grown in California using a single type of softneck garlic that is preferred by the growers for its uniform growth habits and storage capabilities. This uniformity isn’t important in the home garden or in the kitchen where taste and quality rule.

Professional chefs prefer hardneck gourmet garlic varieties, which have larger sized cloves and easy to peel wrappers that make it a snap to prep for cooking. Even more importantly, the gourmet garlics are prized for their range of flavors and intensity.

Some gourmet garlic varieties are mild with subtle flavors, while others are spicy and hotter than wasabi. Some gourmet garlics are great when used raw in dishes such as guacamole, other varieties have complex lingering flavors that hold up well when cooked.

If you’re ready to introduce your taste buds to the flavor filled world of gourmet garlic you can purchase bulbs from specialty growers on the Internet. Or better yet, you can easily grow your own garlic from gourmet variety seed stock right in your backyard garden.

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  • I love your site! Thanks for the great info. I am an avid gardener myself and am always looking for more information like this. I’ll have to try hardneck garlic — can you tell me names of some of your favorite varieties?

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  • Kenny Point

    Thanks Clea, my favorite hardneck gourmet garlic varieties are Chesnok Red, Music, Killarney Red, and Siberian. Music is a dependable producer that can be counted on come harvest time. Siberian is very cold hardy and especially good for northern gardeners.

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