Green garlic may have started as an afterthought, but it certainly didn’t remain that way for long. Once offered only by extremely thrifty farmers who were selling off what they’d thinned from their fields, green garlic is now one of the trendiest items at the farmers markets.
You can find green garlic in a range of sizes, from scallion-slender to nearly fully grown bulbs. The one thing they all share in common is the fact that they are freshly dug and haven’t been dried to reduce moisture and concentrate flavor.
Green garlic won’t last as long in storage as regular garlic and you can use the whole plant, without having to strip off any papery skin or separate the cloves. Though its flavor lacks that famous garlic pungency, it has an irresistible delicacy.
In fact, when green garlic is very young and scallion-like, you can simply chop it and use it as you would any other green onion – even eat it raw. As the bulb fills out, the first layer of skin can get a little tough, so you’ll want to remove that. And you’ll probably want to give the chopped garlic a quick cooking before eating.
How to choose: Honestly, it’s hard to go wrong choosing green garlic. The only problem you might encounter is if the bulbs have gotten too mature and the wrapping has turned dry and papery rather than moist and tender. Occasionally you’ll find that the outer peel has turned a little slimy; this doesn’t affect the inside, so just peel it away.
How to store: Because green garlic has not been cured, it can’t be stored for very long. Keep it tightly sealed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator; even though green garlic is milder than regular garlic, it still has enough pungency to flavor that carton of milk that’s next to it.
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