Green Garlic (Baby/Spring Garlic)
Now one of our favorite hallmarks of Spring, Green Garlic (AKA Baby Green Garlic, Spring Garlic, Baby Spring Garlic, etc.) was actually once a waste product, the result of “thinning” out Garlic fields (pulling some of the young plants to allow others to grow larger). Thankfully however, Farmers were never ones to let anything go to waste, and they quickly discovered this “Baby Garlic” could become a cash crop all of its own – one known for its mild onion flavor and light crunch. Depending on just how early it is pulled it can range from having almost no bulb – similar to a scallion – through to having a small to medium garlic round (a bulb similar to an onion), which represents the end of its “baby” growth stage (once it starts dividing into separate cloves it can no longer be considered immature).
Featuring a milder Garlic flavoring, Green Garlic is cherished for its mellow pungency and grassy notes, along with its sweeter undertones. Compared with its more developed counter-part the flavor of Green Garlic is still garlicky, but with less of its spice and bite. Green Garlic is a short crop so explore this tasty addition while it’s available!
Nutrition: Garlic’s nutritional properties have long made it a Folk Remedy to a multitude of ails – and rightly so, as it contains a lot of antibiotic properties that make it a good agent against bacteria, viruses, as well as intestinal parasites. Alliums (Garlic included) are also known for their benefits in lowering cholesterol and blood pressure – and Garlic in particular can act as both an anti-inflammatory agent, expectorant and decongestant. So toss some Spring Garlic in your next salad and help your body fight off the last of the winter season cold bugs.
When it comes to its culinary uses, the whole plant, including the leaves, can be used (although you may want to cut off the darkest ends of the leaves if they are overly woody or earthy). Green Garlic can be sautéed, grilled, braised, or roasted, but its milder flavoring and tender crunch also makes it a great raw addition to spring salads (but keep in mind it still has a pungent kick, so if sensitive to this flavor, you may want to consume them cooked, which will mellow them out even further). It also goes great with other fresh spring green veggies like Asparagus, Peas, Artichokes, and Leeks, or as an ingredient in hummus or pestos. Try it in some of your go-to recipes as a replacement of either green onions or regular garlic.
Before we get to sharing some of our favorite Green Garlic recipes from across the web, we want to share two delicious recipes that were featured during Demo’s at the Farmers Market this time last year, and starring late winter/early spring favorite Green Garlic (click on the highlighted titles to visit the recipe pages):
Longtime Market supporter, and Executive Chef, Hemant Kishore demoed his absolutely amazing “Green Fairy” Nettle Soup – featuring both Green Garlic along with another late winter gem – Stinging Nettles. **To read more about both Chef Hemant and his additional demo dish, an incredible Parsnip Citrus “Alfredo” Pasta, click here.
Executive Chef Jamaal Taherzadeh, then of the Border Grill (Mandalay Bay) gave us a wonderful demo of the Border Grill’s delicious Pan Roasted Pacific Cod w/ Green Garlic Chimichurri and Nettle Puree. Light with a complex layering of flavors, it’s no wonder this dish has been such a hit. **For a full overview of Chef Jamaal’s demo you can read about it here.
Here are some of our favorite recipes on the web perfect for combining Green Garlic with some of your go-to entrees:
(Clockwise from Upper Left)
Grilled Spring Garlic:
Green Garlic Pesto Pasta:
Sauteed Chicken Breast w/Fava Beans and Green Garlic:
Alice Waters Spaghetti with Green Garlic: