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Jun 10, 2012 03:25 PM

Elephant Garlic

just harvested some that came in a combo pack with real garlic. VERY mixed reviews from what I've read. Anybody have personal experience growing and eating this stuff? Is it worth cooking, or just try raw, maybe pickled. Did you age it first? Would you grow it again?

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  1. We used to grow this variety and would again if we had a garden! It has a much milder flavour and shouldn't be used as normal garlic. I never aged ours as the shelf life is much shorter IMO.
    What have other people been saying? Yay or nay?
    When cooking with elephant garlic, remember that it is not a substitute for the ordinary stuff. Instead it should used where a subtle hint of garlic is wanted without overpowering the rest of the food. Treat it as a "similar but different" ingredient when creating or experimenting with recipes.
    It's often served raw in salads or it can be sliced and sauted in butter (be careful when cooking, it browns very quickly and can turn bitter). It's also frequently used to give a hint of flavour to soups and stews.
    In terms of strength, I'd describe elephant garlic as being to garlic what leeks are to onions. The flavour is much less intense and rather sweeter. It has been described - somewhat unkindly - as "garlic for people who don't like garlic". (sourced from a garlic lovers forum),

    4 Replies
    1. re: green_sleeves

      Most of what I've read among food people, and folks who like garlic, is bad; bland, or bitter, roasted or raw. Among gardeners, except for those who are into garlic, opinions are more forgiving. Oh well; it can't hurt to try. I LOVE pickled veg; have you tried that?

      The Rodney Dangerfield of garlic

      Folks who like it, mentioned in "Garlic, Garlic, Garlic"

      Hugh Carpenter (food writer); "sex appeal...wonderful smell.. plenty of flavor..."
      Ted Kawachi,("Brix" in Napa) "roasts up sweet and nutty...without the usual harsh rawness...adds fullness of flavor and roundness in the mouth"
      John Schumacher (New Prague Inn) "It's miler, and easier to peel"

      1. re: Shrinkrap

        Maybe these folks don't know how to treat it properly. It is very mild ( no comparison to 'real' garlic) so that expectation would be thrown out the window! Or maybe they simply had a bulb that was picked to soon. Who knows. Like I mentioned, it is like comparing onions to leeks.
        My mom used to make tons of yummy assorted pickled veggies. She isn't here any more and have never tried to make my own. Plus my kitchen is too tiny!
        No, we've never pickled them but from what I've read on this site this is a great way to use them up!

      2. re: green_sleeves

        "In terms of strength, I'd describe elephant garlic as being to garlic what leeks are to onions. The flavour is much less intense and rather sweeter"

        A rather felecetous analogy, as, taxonomically Elephant Garlic IS a leek. They both belong to the species Allium ampeloprasum ( leeks belong to the supbspecies porrum egyptian leeks to the subspecies kurrat) as opposed to normal garlic with is A. sativum.