Monday, 28 June 2010

Discover: Elephant Garlic

  • Elephant garlic (Allium ampeloprasum var. ampeloprasum) is a plant belonging to the onion genus. 
  • It is not a true garlic, but actually a variant of the species to which the garden leek belongs. 
  • It has a tall, solid, flowering stalk and broad, flat leaves much like those of the leek, but forms a bulb consisting of very large, garlic-like cloves. 
  • The flavour of these, while not exactly like garlic, is much more similar to garlic than to leeks. 
  • The flavour is milder than garlic, and much more palatable to some people than garlic when used raw as in salads.
  • The mature bulb is broken up into cloves which are quite large and with papery skins and these are used for both culinary purposes and propagation. 
  • There are also much smaller cloves with a hard shell that occur on the outside of the bulb. These are often ignored, but if they are planted, they will the first year produce a non-flowering plant which has a solid bulb, essentially a single large clove. 
  • In their second year, this single clove will break up into many separate cloves. 
  • Elephant garlic is not generally propagated by seeds.
  • The plant, if left alone, will spread into a clump with many flowering heads. These are often left in flower gardens as an ornamental and to discourage pests.

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