Are you ready to grow big garlic?
Ready for a different flavor in your kitchen and a fun allium to harvest? Try planting elephant garlic this fall. This big guy is technically in the leek family, but you’d never know by the look or the taste. How big is it? Think a baseball or a softball. The head of elephant garlic has five to seven cloves, any one of which can be larger than a small HEAD of regular garlic.
Kids love harvesting this giant of the garlic patch, and it keeps well too, with a milder flavor than real garlic. The bulb of elephant garlic is not the only outsize part of the plant -- you'll get foliage about four-feet tall too! No hardneck-garlic-style-scapes with this leek, but globe-shaped flowers on straight stems. Cut off the flowers to conserve the plant's energy for the developing, underground bulb.
Cooking with elephant garlic
Think of this as a flavorful vegetable. It has more moisture than the softneck and hardneck garlics, and can be cooked differently. Elephant garlic brings its own version of the leek/garlic/onion/shallot flavor to the table. Try it cooked whole with a roast (chicken or beef), saute it along with other vegetables, scramble it in eggs-and-stuff, slice it raw into salads, and add to shish kebabs on the barbecue. Prepare your usual recipes, but substitute elephant garlic where you would typically use onions or shallots -- and see how you like the difference.
Growing elephant garlic
Watch our video about planting garlic and you'll see just how easy it is to add elephant garlic to your repertoire. Want to keep going down the leek road? Find out more about leeks in our short video on growing leeks and shallots. Grow elephant garlic and experiment with a unique plant in your garden, and unique flavors in your kitchen.