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Green Garlic Season
March 17 - May 12
As a member of the Alliaceae family, garlic (Allium sativum) is related to onions, shallots, and leeks. All parts of the plants are edible, but most commonly we consume the bulb, cooked, raw or powdered. Garlic bulbs come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colours. There are indeed hundreds of varieties grown worldwide. However, Canadian-grown garlic is generally medium-sized, papery white bulbs that can be eaten at different growth stages.
The first stage where garlic can be enjoyed is the green garlic stage. Green garlic is a young garlic plant that is harvested before maturity. Sometimes known as baby garlic or spring garlic, it has long slender leaves and looks similar to a green onion. Depending on the time of harvest, there will sometimes be a small cluster of cloves at the end of the stalk with a pink or purple tinge. Green garlic is typically available in March or April when farmers are thinning their garlic fields. Although the growing season is weather-dependent. It has a milder flavour than full-grown garlic and less heat. Green garlic is typically found at farmers’ markets in the spring.
What to Look For
Green garlic often looks so similar to green onions and spring onions that you’ll have to do a double-take. The best way to be sure you’re getting green garlic is to take a whiff — it should smell pleasantly of garlic rather than onion. You’ll also notice that leaves are flat rather than tubular.
Storing and Preparation
Green garlic should be stored in the refrigerator and can be kept for 5-7 days. Wrap the green garlic in a damp paper towel and place it in a plastic bag, or stick the green garlic in a tall glass with some water in the bottom. To prepare, treat it like a small leek: trim off the very bottom of the bulb and use all of the tender white and light green parts. Dark green leaves can be saved for stock or used to add flavour to a soup.
How to Use
Green garlic can be used almost anywhere! Use it wherever you’d use regular bulb garlic or green onions, or use it in recipes specifically designed to highlight its unique mild garlic flavour. Add raw green garlic to salads, dressings, and sauces, or you can even try braising, grilling or pickling.
Here are some recipes you can enjoy your Ontario grown green garlic:
- Spring Tart with Bacon, Leeks, Green Garlic and Gruyere
- Tofu with Green Garlic, Green Onions and Shoyu
- Green Garlic Potato Salad
- Green Garlic Dal