Green Garlic – Description of Culinary Use

What is green garlic?

Green garlic is a young garlic plant that has not yet developed cloves.
It is similar to a scallion in appearance, with dark green leaves and a white bulb. The neck of the garlic plant can range from white to deep purple, depending on the variety of garlic. Green garlic is tender and has a relatively mild garlic flavor when compared to mature garlic cloves. Each variety presents its own unique flavor subtleties.

When is green garlic available?

Green garlic is typically available at farmers’ markets in the Upper Midwest in April or early May. Look for plants with dark green leaves that are free from wilting. The bulb should have the roots still attached, as this helps the garlic stay fresh longer. Green garlic will not keep as long as mature garlic. Using a tall drinking glass or mason jar, place the bulb ends in water and refrigerate until ready to use.

Alternatively, wrap the bulb ends in a damp paper towel and store in an unsealed plastic bag in the refrigerator. When stored properly, green garlic will keep for about 7 days.

How should I use green garlic?

Green garlic can be used in raw or cooked dishes. The entire plant is edible, even the roots once they have been thoroughly washed free of soil and cut off of the inedible basal plate. Use green garlic as you would use mature garlic by adding it to sauces, stir fry dishes, salsas, soups, etc. You can also add minced green garlic to salads for a fresh garlicky flavor.

Green garlic is usually available at the same time as fresh asparagus, and the two pair together nicely. For a quick simple dish, saute 1- to 2-inch asparagus pieces in olive oil for five minutes, add roughly chopped green garlic, and cook for another 2 minutes until tender; season to taste with salt and pepper.

Green garlic is a very versatile ingredient – don’t limit yourself to
just these ideas! Try new ways to incorporate green garlic into your
cooking. Its mild garlic flavor adds the perfect touch of spring!

Cook’s Note: Because green garlic is so mildly flavored, and heating reduces the flavor somewhat, always save some of the chopped green garlic to add to a cooked dish just before serving in order to fully appreciate the delicate flavor experience of this special vegetable.

Several recipes using green garlic can be found in the recipe section of Diana’s blog at Examples: Green Garlic-Mint Pesto and Green Garlic-Mint Yogurt Dip. Both are ‘winners’!