Spice support: green garlic

Perhaps I’m stretching the definition of spice a bit by including garlic, but it is generally treated more like a spice than a huge part of the meal (chicken with 40 cloves of garlic notwithstanding). Anyway, this post is not about regular garlic cloves, but about green garlic, which is part of the garlic plant that may already be growing in your pantry.

We’ve all seen the dreaded sprout that forms when the garlic has been stored too long or improperly. Most of us pitch it, but if we let that green sprout grow, in a few weeks’ time we would have green garlic, which has a milder flavor than the cloves. Green garlic is not the same thing as garlic scapes, rather it is young softneck garlic whose tender leaves are harvested before the bulb is fully formed. Scapes, on the other hand, are the curly shoots that form later in the season and which sport buds on top, and are found on hardneck varieties of garlic.

You can use green garlic in place of garlic cloves, but instead of adding it at the beginning of cooking, you should treat it like you would a soft herb, adding it toward the end of cooking. If you receive green garlic through your CSA, or if you decide to pop your sprouted garlic into your garden bed and give raising it yourself a go, the EYB Library has scores of recipes that let this ingredient shine. Here are few to get you started:

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