Boy, Are These
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Garlic is known for its heat, but if you have never had anything but grocery store garlic, you cannot begin to imagine the intensity of heat produced by raw garlic straight from your own garden. You also need to know that garlic loses a substantial amount of its heat when it is cooked. This year’s garlic crop is exceptional for its heat and flavor. I cannot begin to tell you why, I just know from the excruciating experience of sampling all of the garlics in our collection that this year’s crop is truly one of a kind.
Red Toch, an Artichoke Garlic, a softneck variety, is so named because the overlapping clove configuration around the bulb resembles an artichoke. The plants are vigorous and the bulbs are large. These garlics usually do not produce a seedhead but may produce bulbils which will protrude from the lower part ofthe stem. Generally, Artichoke Garlics have 12-20 mildly flavored cloves. The mild flavor makes them a favorite of individuals who enjoy eating raw garlic. With some strains, the flavor may be intensified by cold winter growing. One pound of bulbs averages 80 plants.
Red Toch was discovered near the town of Tochliavri in the Republic of Georgia in 1988 by Dr. Peter Hanelt. This year this garlic is anything but mildly flavored. The heat was significant and long lasting, but not as strong as the rest of the garlics described in this newsletter.
Each year, Metechi is always one of the hottest garlics in our collections and this year is no different. The heat hits fast, but does not persist. This is one of my favorites, and in the garlic tastings that we do, this garlic often is rated the best in flavor. I like everything about this garlic.
Metechi grows in a wide range of climates from Hardiness Zone 3-Hardiness Zone 9.
It is easy to grow. It does not produce a lot of cloves, but the ones it does produce are big.
The clove wrappers are a beautiful brown-tan-purple and it stores for a long time. What more could you ask for from a garlic?
The Marbled Purple Stripes are a sub-variety of the Purple Striped Garlics which are hardnecks.
The hardnecks are not supposed to thrive in climates with warmer winters, but this one does and though not scientifically established, anecdotal evidence is leaning towards its flavor improving when grown in areas with warmer winters.
For our many friends in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Alabama and Georgia, this is a garlic worth trying.
Pyongyang is an Asiatic garlic. The Asiatics, a hardneck sub-variety of the Artichoke Garlics, are not well known in the US. The plants are vigorous. The bulbs are smaller than other artichokes, but the flavor is intense. The bulbs are streaked and tend to mature very rapidly. They should be harvested as soon as their leaves begin to turn brown. One pound of bulbs averages 60 plants.
From the region north of Pyongyang, North Korea, Pyongyang is hot when eaten raw and richly flavored when cooked. This year it has more than lived up to its heat reputation and the heat is long-lasting. It is an EXCEPTIONAL storer, sometimes lasting as long as a year from harvest.
Nootka Rose is a Silverskin, a softneck, which due to their superb storage capabilities, are the most familiar garlic varieties. They have the highest yields and do well in a variety of climates. There are usually 12-20 cloves per bulb and one pound of garlic averages 90 plants. Nootka Rose is an old garlic variety from the San Juan Islands off the Washington Coast. Its cloves are streaked red on a mahogany background. This year’s Nootka Rose has a burst of sweetness when you initially bite the clove followed by incredible, long-lasting biting heat.
Porcelain Garlics, hardnecks, were not well known in the US until recently. Most varieties have pure white skins and cloves so large that they are often mistaken for elephant garlic. One pound of bulbs averages 40 plants. Georgian Crystal is a porcelain variety collected in 1985 at Cichisdzhvari. This is in the central mountain region of the republic of Georgia. The plant is quite vigorous. It produces large bulbs with large cloves. The flavor is less biting than most Porcelains, but not this year. Georgian Crystal was the hottest and most long-lasting garlic in our collection this year. It took several bites of bread and lots of water to adjust to the heat.