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Apr 22, 2010 11:02 AM

Who carries fresh garlic in Boston?

I'm kind of tired of watching my (properly-stored) garlic start sprouting within a few days, and understand that locally-grown (or at least fresher) garlic will not only take longer to start sprouting but will be ever so much tastier.

Even the stuff I buy at Ming's and Hong Kong Market seems to sprout fairly quickly, and I imagine it to be fresher and see faster turnover than places like Whole Foods, Stop & Shop, etc. Any ideas?

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  1. I've gotten garlic as part of my CSA share from Allendale Farm before, you might want to check there in June.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Karl

      I was just going to mention Allandale Farm as well.

    2. Try processing the garlic and freezing in olive oil.

      7 Replies
          1. re: speyerer

            Ooh, I couldn't do that to garlic: I very rarely even use my press anymore. Previously-frozen garlic paste is not something I can make much use of in my kitchen.

            I also believe there are botulism risks associated with storing raw garlic anaerobically in oil, though I'm not certain of that.


            1. re: MC Slim JB

              It is a high-risk for botulism in oil at room temperature; this UC-Davis page has more information:

              As for your question, Dave Purpura of Plato's Harvest sells excellent garlic (and excellent garlic powder, fyi) at several area farmers' markets. I get mine at the Harvard University Farmers Market, which starts in June.

              1. re: MC Slim JB

                Peeled garlic cloves may be submerged in oil and stored in the freezer for several months. Do not store garlic in oil at room temperature. Garlic-in-oil mixtures stored at room temperature provide perfect conditions for producing botulism toxin (low acidity, no free oxygen in the oil, and warm temperatures).

                1. re: MC Slim JB

                  Funny you bring this up. In last night's Good Eats episode, Alton Brown was working with artichokes and he said the only ingredient he avoids using when making infused oils is garlic because it can potentially be really dangerous.

          2. I just read about this issue and I gather it's garlic that is stored under refrigeration that sprouts more readily .. kinda like your bulbs coming up in the Spring after a cold winter. Look for places that don't refrigerate their garlic ... talk to the produce guy. Also, storing in the dark helps prevent sprouting.

            7 Replies
            1. re: yumyum

              I don't refrigerate, but store it in a dark, dry, well-ventilated space, as is recommended by most sources I can find (including my food storage bible, "Keeping Foods Fresh").


              1. re: MC Slim JB

                I meant supermarkets that refrigerate the bulbs, not at home. Again, talk to your produce guy / gal about how they keep the garlic at your local store.

                I've had fresh local garlic, too, but it's a different animal than the strong biting garlic you are typically looking for for everyday use.

                1. re: yumyum

                  Ah, now I get your point. So, local garlic is kind of wimpy?


                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                    Those I've had are less "hot" than the kind I like to cook with if that makes any sense at all.

                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                      Woah. More than you ever wanted to know about different kinds of garlic.


                2. re: yumyum

                  I can't think of a produce wholesaler who doesn't use cold storage, not to mention refrigerated transport. I have never been that impressed with the quality of garlic from Asian supermarkets, although they do have a lot of turnover. And Market Basket is no better. Probably any of the local options mentioned are better, but I can often (70% of the time) get quality garlic from Italian-oriented produce vendors: Rosebud in Malden, Roberto's in Medford, New Deal in Revere... none of them close to MC and sometimes included in the 70% I end up getting the imported Chinese sleeves from Roberto's because in better shape but I can get decent loose garlic more often at those sources than supermarkets.

                  1. re: itaunas

                    Hmmm... curious. The article I read (cannot source it now, dang!) indicated that some purveyors keep it under refrigeration and others don't. I would certainly trust your expertise in this matter tho.

                    Even a supermarket with a high Italian customer base are going to do better than other supermarkets. The garlic I get at the Medford S&S is way better than elsewhere, I've found.

                3. i don't know if locally grown garlic will be tastier or not. it is likely to taste different--northern varieties of garlic, in my experience, are frequently milder than their southern cousins. but there are approximately a gazillion varieties of garlic, so perhaps this isn't generally true.