Beyond the sweet-savoring aroma they add to our foods and the gratifying taste buds, spices, and herbs can work wonders for our health. One such wonderful spice is garlic.
Garlic is one of the most esteemed and notorious herbs known to man. Humans of all races and gender have embraced garlic for its medicinal and culinary properties for centuries. This bulbous perennial spice of the onion family comes with ‘Allicin,’ a sulfur compound that boosts its therapeutic quality.
Garlic is one of the king spices in the kitchen. Besides its health and culinary purposes, garlic can be a great addition to any garden. They are easy to grow at home and can grow well across diverse climates. They also require little maintenance. But do you know the different types of garlic? Cloves of Garlic are not the same. Here are some types of garlic you should consider adding to your garden.
Where Does Garlic Come From?
Indeed, garlic has become an essential spice to most of our meals. If you want that distinct and irresistible aroma, a teaspoon of garlic is all it takes to do wonders. But have you ever paused to wonder where this wonder comes from?
Garlic is undoubtedly a unique herb filled with a rich history. While the origin of garlic is not so clear, it is widely believed that this rich spice is one of the most ancient medicinal herbs, originating from around central Asia and Iran about thousands of years ago. Indians and the Chinese are believed to have been the first to key in fully to the medicinal side of this wonderful herb.
According to recent findings, garlic (Allium sativum L.) was first developed around the Tien Shan Mountains of West China and Kyrgyzstan about 6000 years ago. The ancient Chinese used garlic for different remedies, including depression. In old India, it served as a medicinal herb for additional treatments, including cough and skin diseases. However, in ancient Egypt, garlic was used to feed the enslaved people that worked on the famous Egyptian Pyramid.
Over the years, garlic has gained so much reputation across different cultures and races, becoming a formidable medicinal plant and food. Its function in food and medicine today can never be overemphasized.
Hardneck Vs. Softneck Garlic
If you’re planning on having garlic in your garden, you’d have to understand the different types of garlic. Hundreds of garlic varieties and tens of styles have different colors, unique flavors, and culinary uses. They are all categorized into two main groups—hardneck and softneck.
If you have never grown garlic before, you have nothing to fear. Garlic is an easy-to-grow herb and requires less care and attention. However, you still have to pick the best type of garlic in your garden. So, what’s the difference between hardneck and soft neck garlic?
Hardneck garlic, scientifically known as Allium sativum var. ophioscorodon, according to its name, is more complex than the softneck varieties. Hardneck garlic forms an edible flower stem known as garlic scape that sprouts from the bulbs. This garlic scape is a delicacy that can be pickled or added to foods, thanks to its flavoring property. However, the scapes are often cut off to encourage the plant to grow bulbs.
The hardneck garlic performs better than the softness in colder climates. Also, they form fewer cloves compared to softnecks. However, they have more robust flavors. Additionally, hardneck garlic has a shorter shelf life, lasting only about five months after harvesting. Some of the popular types of garlic under the hardneck category include;
- Purple Stripe
- Marbled Purple Stripe
- Glazed Purple Stripe
The softneck garlic, scientifically called Allium sativum var. Sativum, are the most common and most widely used variety of garlic. So when you shop for garlic in your local grocery store or order wholesale from China, there’s a high chance that you’re getting softneck garlic.
Softneck garlic is best grown in milder climates or warmer environments, requiring less exposure to cold. And thanks to the fact that it forms bulbs more rapidly than the hardneck varieties and requires less attention, softneck garlic is widely grown commercially. Unlike the hardnecks, they don’t create scapes and have more cloves in each bulb. Thanks to their tightly wrapped cloves, they last up to 9 months in storage after harvesting. Some of the common types of garlic under the softneck include;
- Blanco Piacenza
- California Early and Late Whites
- Corsican Red
- Inchelium Red
- Silver Rose
- Silver White
- French Red
Top Types Of Garlic To Plant
Garlic, a bulbous flowering plant, has hundreds of species and varieties, each with unique characteristics, flavor, and maturity dates. Whether you would like to grow garlic in your garden to fill your cooking needs or you want this herb for its medicinal value, or you’re simply planting for pest control within your garden, knowing the different types of garlic is the first step in choosing the right type of garlic to have in your garden. Here are the top ten types of garlic to plant in any garden.
Rocambole garlic is the right type if you want to grow hardneck garlic in your home garden. Thanks to its flavor, the Rocambole has become one of the gardeners’ and cooks’ favorites. It is touted to have the best taste in its class. However, they do well in colder climates.
Rocambole garlic offers widely popular varieties, such as the Spanish Roja and Russian Red, with an average height range of 18 to 24 inches. The Spanish Roja variety has a white outer skin but reddish purple clove wrappers. Generally, Rocambole garlic is easy to peel and chop and has a shelf life of up to 6 months.
If you want to grow a variety of garlic with a conventional garlic-like aroma and taste, Porcelain garlic is the right type for you. With large bulbs having about six cloves covered in white wrappers, hiding the reddish-brown skin, porcelain garlic is popular among gardeners. They perform okay in diverse conditions and have a great flavor, just like the Rocambole. Some varieties of Porcelain garlic include German White, Georgian Crystal, and Romanian Red.
Gardeners looking to grow softneck garlic prefer the artichoke garlic, thanks to its early maturity and ability to adapt well to different climates and soil conditions. In addition, the artichoke garlic bulbs come with fewer but larger cloves that retain enough moisture. When properly dried, this softneck garlic can last up to 10 months. Common varieties of the artichoke garlic include Early Red Italian, California Early, and Red Toch.
Silverskin garlic is the choice if you want a better flavor and long shelf life (up to 12 months). Although it takes longer to mature, has more gloves, and is hard to peel (due to its irregular size), silverskin garlic has better flavor than the artichoke garlic varieties and is easier to dry. As a result, silverskin garlic is one of the most popular and widely used softneck garlic.
Marbled Stripe Garlic
Growing well in a diverse range of climatic conditions and temperatures, marble purple stripe garlic has a strong flavor, and it’s famed as the best type of garlic for baking. It has fewer but larger cloves with red and cream stripes. Some of its varieties include Metechi, Siberian, Gourmet Red, and Kadar, with a shelf life of up to seven months.
Glazed Purple Garlic
Glazed purple garlic or purple strip garlic is a more delicate variety. This type of garlic has a thinner outer skin, mild flavor, and red to purple stripe cloves with a glossy exterior. As such, there are not commonly grown by gardeners and are rarely available in local grocery stores.
The Asiatic garlic varieties are the deal if you want fresh garlic that looks good in the garden and tastes great in food. The Asiatic garlic grows big and matures faster and can be increased many times within a calendar year. However, they can’t keep for long.
Although turban garlic is not a standard variety, it hardly tastes like garlic. However, if you want garlic that grows fast and can add a hot-fiery taste to your dishes, turban garlic is the right option.
Undoubtedly one of the most appealing garlic with its small bulbs and rosy skin, the creole hardneck garlic has a delicious flavor that adds to its endearing traits. It is easy to grow and can tolerate harsh temperates. Unfortunately, it doesn’t perform well in cold climates. Common varieties include Creole Red and Burgundy.
Of course, you can’t mention the top types of garlic to plant without including the famous elephant garlic, also known as buffalo garlic. Related to the onions family, elephant garlic is called such due to its giant bulbs, each with up to six cloves.
Besides being famous for its distinct size, elephant garlic comes with a mild flavor, easy-to-peel cloves, and an onion-like flavor, making them the go-to choice if you want to grow garlic for culinary purposes. Unfortunately, you should rethink growing this garlic if you live in an area with colder temperatures.
What Is The Best Type Of Garlic To Plant In My Garden?
With so many types and hundreds of varieties, picking the right one for your garden can be overwhelming. But you don’t have to overwork yourself before settling for the right one for your garden. Your taste and climate should influence your choice of garlic type to plant in your garden. Do you live in a warmer or colder region? Do you prefer a clove of fast-growing garlic, one that can store for a long time, or one with delicious flavor? Knowing what you need will make choosing the one to have in your garden more accessible.
Garlic is a beautiful herb. Whether you need them for food or medicinal purposes, it doesn’t change the fact that it’s a wonder herb & spice. So if you want to start growing garlic but you’re looking for a suitable cultivar or want fresh garlic, never hesitate to reach out to us at Fenduni.
At Fenduni, we are the largest garlic exporter from China to different parts of the world. So no matter what part of the world you’re in, you can quickly get fresh garlic from China delivered right to your doorstep.