With all the berries, tomatoes, and corn pouring into the markets right now, it’s easy to overlook the big piles of garlic. But since my personal craving for fresh garlic knows no bounds, I’ve been hoarding the stuff (along with pretty much everything else). But once I got my farmer’s market garlic home, I wondered — why is this garlic so crisp and flavorful compared to the kind from the grocery store?
It turns out the kind of garlic available locally in the north, east, and west of the US is hardneck garlic. This relatively mild variety has large cloves arranged around a hard central core, and is the same stuff that sprouts scapes earlier in the season. The variety sold at most grocery stores, and throughout the south, is softneck garlic, which is spicier, has smaller cloves, and no central stalk. Over on Brooklyn Supper, we’re sharing more on seasonal garlic, a quick tip for figuring out where grocery store garlic is from, and one of my favorite ways to prepare fresh garlic so that it’s mild, crisp, and brimming with flavor.
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