- How to Use Elephant Garlic
- Elephant Garlic Care: How To Grow Elephant Garlic Plants
- What is Elephant Garlic?
- How to Grow Elephant Garlic
- Caring for and Harvesting Elephant Garlic
- Elephant Garlic Uses
- Elephant Garlic Is Related to Leek
- Elephant Garlic Info! Health benefits of Garlic
- Elephant Garlic Growing Guide
- Production and Management of Garlic, Elephant Garlic and Leek
- Land Preparation
- Crop Management
- Pest Management
- Harvesting and Handling
- I’m not sure why, but roasted garlic, in my humble opinion, is fancy. Maybe it’s because you never see it at your local all-you-can-eat buffet, pizza joint, or restaurant chain. No, IF you see it, it’s served alongside a dish you can’t pronounce in a restaurant that refers to themselves as a ‘trattoria,’ ‘bistro,’ or ‘café’ (accent required). Which is exactly why you should make it and serve it at your next get together. It is extremely impressive, yet easy and versatile, all the while being so stinking delicious. It’s a no-recipe-recipe. Here’s how you do it.
- Related posts:
How to Use Elephant Garlic
Despite the name, elephant garlic is not actually garlic. Though both aromatics are part of the allium genus, they belong to different species. Elephant garlic belongs to ampeloprasum, the same species as leeks; garlic is from the species sativum. And while at first glance elephant garlic might look like garlic on steroids (it’s two to three times larger), closer examination reveals some differences. Conventional garlic heads can boast as many as 20 cloves, but elephant garlic never has more than about six, and its cloves have a yellowish cast.
To see how their tastes compared, we made aïoli and garlic-potato soup, using regular garlic in one batch and the same amount of elephant garlic in another. Raw in aïoli, the elephant garlic had a mild, garlicky onion flavor. This weak flavor virtually disappeared when it was simmered in soup. Tasters much preferred the sharper, more pungent taste of regular garlic in both recipes. It turns out that elephant garlic produces the same flavor compounds as regular garlic when it’s crushed—as well as those produced by onions and leeks—just less of each type. The upshot is that elephant garlic doesn’t taste as potent as its allium cousins.
In short: Elephant garlic is not a substitute for true garlic. If you want milder garlic flavor, use less of the real stuff.
Elephant Garlic Care: How To Grow Elephant Garlic Plants
Most epicureans use garlic on an almost daily basis to enhance the flavor of our culinary creations. Another plant that can be used to impart a similar, though lighter, flavor of garlic is the elephant garlic. How do you grow elephant garlic and what are some of elephant garlic uses? Read on to learn more.
What is Elephant Garlic?
Elephant garlic (Allium ampeloprasum) looks like a giant garlic clove but in fact, is not a true garlic but more closely related to a leek. It is a hardy bulb with large blue-green leaves. This perennial herb boasts an outsized pink or purple flower stalk that appears in the spring or summer. Under the ground, a large bulb consisting of five to six large cloves surrounded by smaller bulblets grows. This allium plant attains a height of about 3 feet from bulb to the tip of the strap-like leaves and originates in Asia.
How to Grow Elephant Garlic
This herb is easy to grow and once established, requires little maintenance. Purchase large seed cloves from a supplier or try setting those found at the grocers. Elephant garlic bought at the grocers may not sprout, however, as they are often sprayed with a growth inhibitor to prevent sprouting. Look for heads that are firm with a dry, papery covering.
With elephant garlic planting, most any soil will do, but for the largest bulbs begin with a well-draining soil medium. Dig down a foot into the soil and amend with a 1.5 gallon bucket of sand, granite dust, humus/peat moss mix per 2’x 2’to 3’x 3′ section and mix in well. Top dress with some well-aged manure and mulch around the plants with chopped leaves and/or sawdust to keep weeds at bay and also to nourish as the amendments decompose or break down.
Elephant garlic prefers full sun and can be grown in temperate regions all the way into tropical zones. In cooler climates, plant in the fall or spring while in warmer regions the herb can be planted in spring, fall, or winter.
Break up the bulb into cloves for propagation. Some cloves are much smaller and are called corms, which grow on the outside of the bulb. If you plant these corms, they will produce a non-blooming plant in the first year with a solid bulb or single large clove. In the second year, the clove will begin to separate into multiple cloves, so don’t ignore the corms. It may take two years, but eventually you will get a good head of elephant garlic.
Caring for and Harvesting Elephant Garlic
Once planted, elephant garlic care is pretty simple. The plant does not have to be divided or harvested each year, but rather can be left alone where it will spread into a clump of multiple flowering heads. These clumps can be left as ornamentals and as deterrents to pests such as aphids, but will eventually become over crowded, resulting in stunted growth.
Water the elephant garlic when first planted and regularly in the spring with 1 inch of water per week. Water the plants in the morning so the soil dries by nightfall to discourage diseases. Stop watering when the garlic’s leaves start drying out, which is an indication it’s harvest time.
Elephant garlic should be ready to pick when the leaves are bent over and dying back — about 90 days after planting. When half of the leaves have died back, loosen the soil around the bulb with a trowel. You can also top off the immature plant tops (scapes) when they are tender prior to blooming. This will direct more of the plant’s energy into creating large bulbs.
Elephant Garlic Uses
Scapes can be pickled, fermented, stir fried, etc. and even frozen in a resealable bag, raw, for up to a year. The bulb itself can be used just as regular garlic, albeit with a milder flavor. The entire bulb can be roasted whole and used as a spread on bread. It can be sautéed, sliced and eaten raw, and minced.
Drying the bulb out in a cool, dry basement for a few months will extend the life of the garlic and induce a fuller flavor. Hang the bulbs to dry and store for up to 10 months.
Elephant Garlic Is Related to Leek
Question: I saw some “elephant” garlic in the store one day and I was curious to find out if this is real garlic. It was more expensive than regular garlic. Can you please give some information on elephant garlic?
Answer: This giant garlic (sometimes called great-headed garlic and Oriental garlic) is botanically known as Allium ampeloprasum. It is more closely related to the common leek, as is evident in the plant’s broad, flat leaves, folded lengthwise.
Elephant garlic differs from regular garlic in that it produces a number of small, thick-shelled cloves around the base of the bulb. The taste is milder than the genuine garlic. Like regular garlic, the giant garlic heads may be stored in a cool dry place, and leftover peeled ones may be kept in a tightly covered jar in the refrigerator.
Q: A recipe calls for two cups of cooked wild rice. How much raw rice should I start with?
A: Wild rice usually expands up to four times its dry volume. Use half a cup raw wild rice to make two cups cooked. To cook, simmer in two cups barely salted water about 45 minutes or until tender.
Q: Do you have some tips for buying and storing radicchio? As an expensive salad “lettuce,” I would like to know how to treat it correctly.
A: Popular in Europe, this reddish purple salad vegetable is more perishable than other salad lettuces and should be used within a day or two. For best flavor, choose smaller heads of radicchio. Larger ones tend to have a bitter off taste.
Avoid buying limp, discolored radicchio. To avoid rapid deterioration, do not wash the vegetable head before storing. Lightly wrap in damp paper towels and place inside a plastic bag that has been punctured for air circulation. Keep in a vegetable crisper.
Q: Every time I bake poundcakes they crack in the center? Can you tell me what causes this? Also when I mix the batter, it curdles.
A: According to the American Institute of Baking, there are three possible reasons: (1) the oven temperature is too high; (2) the baking powder reaction is too slow; (3) the cake is over-mixed.
If the batter is properly formulated, longer baking at a lower temperature should produce a crack-free surface. Another reason for cracking, according to some books on baking, is too much flour and too little liquid.
Use paper-lined loaf pans and bake at 350 degrees for small to regular loaf pans, 300 degrees for larger poundcakes. To avoid curdling, after about half of the eggs have been creamed in, add a little of the flour.
Q: Can moistened washcloths be safely heated up in the microwave oven?
A: Yes, and they’re especially helpful when you want warm finger towels after a grease-laden meal. Wet washcloths with a water and lemon juice solution, wring out, fold or roll and heat in a wicker basket or bowl on HIGH 2 to 3 minutes.
Address questions on food preparation to You Asked About, Food Section, The Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053. Personal replies cannot be given.
Great plump cloves, so satisfyingly oversized, so suited to their name: elephant garlic bulbs are comically big, its cloves up to 5cm wide, followed by strapping leaves and then, if allowed, a flower spike that tops 1.5m tall.
It’s not really garlic; Allium ampeloprasum grows like a large leek, but tastes like mild garlic. It’s perfect for roasting and baking. We have a native variety, Babington leek, Allium ampeloprasum var. babingtonia that grows along the south coast, though the elephant garlic we grow in our garden probably has its origins in the eastern Mediterranean forms. Certainly, the cloves of the cultivated form grow far larger than any Babington leek I’ve produced.
Elephant garlic also seems more suited to wet conditions and less attacked by slugs. (Though the minute I say this, the great slug god blights me for those I have squished.) A single clove planted in autumn swells up into a larger clove, known as a monobulb. If the season is long enough, this will split into more cloves, just as garlic does. In late spring, the flower spike appears from the middle of the bulb. Remove this, as it diverts energy away from the bulb.
Elephant garlic likes full sun and moist conditions, though not waterlogging in winter. It won’t tolerate overcrowding from other plants and needs to be planted at least 20cm away from any neighbour. Traditionally, you plant in October or November, though it can be planted right up to February if conditions allow. The later you plant, the more likely it will just give you one large monobulb. These are a joy to cook with, so there’s something to be said for late planting.
If you harvest the monobulbs next June or July, then you are treating the plant as an annual and will need to save a number of cloves to replant (as long as the plants were healthy). However, if you leave the plants alone, you’ll find each clove becomes a bulb next year. And this method would perpetuate the plants forever – elephant garlic will grow happily as a perennial.
This would also affect the overall size of each clove, as the plants become congested. So carefully pull up the largest plants each year to eat, leaving those that remain room to swell. You’ll find the smaller plants are nearly always monobulbs, but given a bit more space these will swell up into large cloves the following year.
The top growth usually dies back by late August. You can lightly hoe the surface to remove weeds and then top dress with well-rotted garden compost, leaf mould or mulch in autumn. Just spread it out – don’t try to dig it in or you’ll disturb the bulbs. Once established, the only job truly necessary is to harvest every year.
Follow Alys Fowler on Twitter @AlysFowler
• The photograph with this article was changed on 3 December 2014. The earlier version showed regular garlic, not elephant garlic.
Elephant Garlic Info! Health benefits of Garlic
Allium ampeloprasum Hardneck
Allium ampeloprasum is a member of the onion genus Allium. The wild plant is commonly known as wild leek or broadleaf wild leek. Its native range is southern Europe to western Asia, but it is cultivated in many other places and has become naturalized in many countries.
Allium ampeloprasum is regarded as native to all the countries bordering on the Black, Adriatic, and MediterraneanSeas from Portugal to Egypt to Romania.
A huge variety producing bulbs weighing up to one pound or more. Delicious in salads, stews and soups because of its slightly milder flavor.
Elephant Garlic is hardy and can be fall planted in most parts of the country to produce enormous yields next summer. Must be winter mulched in extreme temperatures.
5 lb. of Elephant Garlic will plant a 20 to 30 foot row when cloves are spaced 6 to 8″ apart. For orders over 100 lbs. please contact us for pricing and details.
Elephant Garlic is an ideal crop for the small acreage owner seeking a second income, giving frequent yields of more than 5 tons an acre farm.
Bigger might mean better for some in terms of a raw cooking product, but not a more powerful flavor per se. The great news is that elephant garlic also contains Allicin just like regular garlic does. This means you get the health benefits of garlicin elephant garlic while get the unique nutrients in leeks and onions.
When crushed and then analyzed using a DART ion source, elephant garlic has been shown to produce both allicin, found in garlic, and syn-propanethial-S-oxide (onion lachrymatory factor), found in onion and leek, but absent in garlic, consistent with the classification of elephant garlic as a closer relative of leek than of garlic
GARLIC IS NOT SHIPPED OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL U.S.
Most Garlic Heads have 4 to 7 cloves so the average you should count on is 5 cloves per 1 lb
Elephant Garlic Growing Guide
Elephant garlic, also called great-headed or Oriental garlic, is more closely related to leeks than to true garlic. But it has the same growth habits as regular garlic, with a few minor differences. This cold hardy allium yields 3-4 cloves that are often the size of regular garlic bulbs, hence the name. It’s very mild-flavored, with an onion-like taste.
WHEN TO SOW
SUN OR PART SHADE
SPACE AFTER THINNING
DAYS TO GERMINATE
DAYS TO MATURITY
Late summer to early fall
Soil and Fertilizing
It is best to have your soil tested before planting, so you know what nutrients and pH adjustments may be needed. For a thorough test, consult your local extension office.
Elephant garlic requires loose, fertile soil. Add organic matter, to keep the soil loose through the long growing season. If you have soil with a high clay content, add large amounts of compost to beds before planting. Lighter soils that have naturally loose textures need only small amounts of organic matter, or green manures like clover or rye grass.
Fertilize moderately according to your soil test results. DO NOT fertilize once bulbing has begun, as it may hinder bulb development.
Like true garlic, elephant garlic overwinters where the winters are harsh; in locations with milder winters, it often grows frost-hardy leaves. You can plant from October through January in milder climates, though you may want to plant from September through November where it’s colder, to give the plants enough time to develop a healthy root system before winter closes in.
Break the bulb into individual cloves and plant them 4-6 inches deep, at least 12 inches apart. Weed regularly, because like most alliums, elephant garlic has shallow roots and can’t handle much competition for resources. You can remove the edible scapes (flower stalks on top) and use them in cooking, or even pickle them.
Water regularly to keep the soil moist, but not waterlogged. This is especially important during the first few weeks of spring growth, but should be continued during the rapid growth phase.
Harvesting / Storage
When your elephant garlic’s leaves start drying out and falling over, stop watering for a few days, then harvest. Don’t wait too long, or the cloves will start separating. In loose soils, you can pull them up by hand; otherwise, loosen and lift the soil with a spading fork. Once you’ve harvested the bulbs, get them out of the direct sunlight right away. Brush off the soil, but don’t wash the roots, since you’ll need to cure them later.
Depending on the ambient humidity, you’ll need to cure your elephant garlic for 3-8 weeks in a cool, dark, dry place before storage. Some growers braid the tops together and hang them up in small bunches to facilitate curing. A fan set on low, to ensure good air circulation, will accelerate the curing process. After curing, a tough shell forms around the bulbs.
Next, trim the roots and remove the stalks half an inch above the bulb. Leave the skin on the bulbs, and store your elephant garlic 45-55° F with an ambient humidity of 50% or less. It will last as long as 10 months in storage, and will develop a fuller flavor than fresh elephant garlic.
Elephant garlic can grow as high as five feet, producing attractive flowers. Some gardeners allow them to develop as ornamentals. However, you’ll have larger bulbs if you clip off the flower stalks when they’re 8-9 inches tall.
Elephant garlic needs cold weather to divide properly. If you plant in the spring, it will yield cloveless onion-like bulbs called “rounds.” If you replant them in the fall (or just leave them in the ground) they’ll form normal bulbs by the following spring.
Little bulblets called “corms” may also develop outside a garlic bulb. Some gardeners toss them, but you can plant them to produce more garlic. After scoring, soak them in water overnight and plant them. The developing plants will be smaller than those started from cloves, and will produce only rounds the first year. These can be cooked like pearl onions and are very tasty. If you plant the rounds a second year, however, you’ll end up with a regular bulb with 4-6 large cloves.
For soil testing or other questions specific to your growing climate, please contact your local county extension agent.
Visit http://www.almanac.com/content/cooperative-extension-services to find the office nearest you.
Production and Management of Garlic, Elephant Garlic and Leek
Circular 852 View PDF picture_as_pdf
George E. Boyhan, W. Terry Kelley and Darbie M. Granberry, Extension Horticulturists
- Land Preparation
- Crop Management
- Pest Management
- Harvesting and Handling
Georgia is well known for its sweet onions. These short-day, dry bulb onions are marketed throughout the United States and Canada as Vidalia® onions. Although garlic (Allium sativum), elephant garlic (A. ampeloprasum), leek (A. ampeloprasum) and other Alliums also can be grown successfully in South Georgia, acreage of these related Alliums has remained low.
Garlic can be placed into one of two broad classes-hard neck and soft neck-based on growth habit. Hard neck varieties are grown in colder northern climates. These varieties tend to bolt or form a seed stalk at maturity. This seed stalk is stiff; thus the name hard neck. Soft neck varieties are adapted to the Mediterranean-like climate of central California. They also can be grown in the Southeast, including Georgia. These varieties don’t form a seed stalk at maturity; thus the necks remain soft and are easy to cut or weave into strings of garlic.
Elephant garlic, also called great-headed or Oriental garlic, is probably the most widely grown Allium in Georgia, excluding sweet onions. Although elephant garlic is more closely related to leek than to garlic, it has the same growth habit and bulbing process as regular garlic. It will, however, bolt or form a seedstem at maturity unlike softneck garlic varieties. As the name indicates, elephant garlic is much larger at maturity than regular garlic. A single clove of elephant garlic may be as large as an entire bulb of standard garlic.
Leek is a non-bulbing Allium. Instead of forming a bulb, the leaves adhere to one another at the base, forming a pseudostem. Although leek are popular in the produce section of food stores, they are a minor crop in Georgia.
Soil should be deep turned, to bury any residual litter on the site, two to four weeks before final land preparation and planting. This will insure sufficient time for breakdown of previous crop residue.
Although garlic and related Alliums have no specific recommendations based on soil testing, taking a soil sample to assess the residual fertility and pH is still a good idea. The soil pH should be between 6.0 and 6.5; if soil tests below this, an application of lime is recommended. Dolomitic lime is generally recommended for South Georgia soils because it effectively raises pH and supplies both magnesium and calcium. Raising soil pH is a relatively slow process. Therefore, if you suspect that your soil is acidic, you may wish to test and apply lime several months ahead of the crop to insure that the pH will be adequately adjusted at planting.
A slightly raised bed is ideal for producing leek and garlic. Follow the standard bedding practices for sweet onions: Form beds approximately 4 feet wide with a 1-foot wheel row on either side. In onion production, a drum the width of the bed is used to mark the holes where the onion transplants will be placed. This drum (pegger) has pegs that form the holes based on the required in-row and between-row spacing (Figure 1). Four to five rows can be pegged on each bed with this pegger. For garlic, the between-row spacing should be 12 to 18 inches. The in-row spacing should be 2 to 3 inches for regular garlic and 3 to 4 inches for elephant garlic. Between 800 and 2,000 pounds of garlic or elephant garlic cloves will be required to plant an acre. The exact amount required will vary based on variety, clove size and plant spacing. Elephant garlic would require about 2,000 pounds; regular garlic would require less.
Leek can be direct seeded with an in-row spacing of 3 to 4 inches and a between-row spacing of 14 to 18 inches. About 3 to 4 pounds of seed will be required per acre. For accurate seeding, a precision seeder with coated seed is recommended for planting leek. Leek can also be produced from transplants.
Garlic, leek and related Alliums are heavy feeders and will require considerable amounts of fertilizer over a relatively long growing season. In addition, because the Coastal Plain soils of Georgia are generally low in sulfur, this nutrient must also be applied to the crop.
Garlic and elephant garlic require approximately 150 to 175 pounds of nitrogen (N) per acre. Phosphorus (P2O5) and potassium (K2O) would be required in the range of 100 to 150 pounds per acre depending on the residual levels of these nutrients in the soil.
Leek requires about 125 to 150 pounds of nitrogen per acre with phosphorus and potassium requirements ranging from 100 to 120 pounds per acre, depending on the residual levels of these nutrients in the soil.
As mentioned earlier, Georgia does not have specific recommendations for garlic and related Alliums based on soil test results. Because garlic is a relatively long season crop, it will require applications of fertilizer throughout the production cycle. A good starting point would be to incorporate 1,000 pounds of 5-10-15 or similar analysis fertilizer with 5 percent sulfur (S) per acre prior to setting the crop. A sidedress application of CaNO3 is recommended every four to six weeks at a rate of 200 pounds per acre. One additional application of 5-10-15 with 5 percent sulfur should be substituted for one of the CaNO3 applications in January.
In the absence of Georgia soil test recommendations, periodic foliar analysis is recommended to monitor the status of the crop, particularly as it relates to N-P-K and S. See Table 1 for sufficiency ranges for garlic.
Garlic, elephant garlic and leek should be planted in the fall from September to November. Earlier maturing varieties of garlic can be planted later (November) with satisfactory results. Late maturing varieties planted at this time may not have sufficient time to size adequately before growth is slowed by the high temperatures of summer.
Garlic and elephant garlic produce bulbs consisting of clearly defined sections called cloves. It is from these cloves that garlic and elephant garlic reproduce asexually. The bulbs are broken apart or shattered and the basal plate removed to get cloves for the new crop’s “seed.” In fact, most fields are clones of the same variety. Garlic does not normally set viable seed because it is self-incompatible. Asexual propagation has advantages and disadvantages. Advantages include ease of handling and a large food reserve to get the plant started. Disadvantages include the bulk of the material and the possibility of propagating diseases in the cloves.
Commercial growers should periodically renew their seed stocks of cloves by heat treating the cloves and micropropagating them in tissue culture. This removes any latent diseases and can dramatically increase yields. Growers in Georgia should, when possible, purchase cloves from a reputable source that attempts to minimize latent disease problems through these techniques.
Several different varieties of soft neck garlic are available. California Early is a common type of softneck garlic that has done well in trials in Georgia. No named varieties of elephant garlic exist at this time. Most growers handle their own seed stocks.
Cloves should be planted with the growing point just below the soil surface. This means the base will be from 1 to 2 inches below the surface. Leek seed should be planted approximately 0.25 to 0.5 inch deep, and transplants should be planted at the same depth they were growing in the greenhouse.
Garlic, elephant garlic and leek should be grown with soil moisture at or near field capacity, particularly during periods of rapid growth (bulbing).
Although winter crops generally have reduced insect pressure compared with crops produced during the spring, summer or fall, garlic and leek should be scouted regularly for potential insect problems. Early spring is the most likely time to encounter insect pests in winter vegetables. If an insect pest problem arises, consult your local county Extension agent for the best method of control.
Diseases can be a particular problem with winter crops because of rainy, humid weather conditions. Regular applications of protective sprays are recommended to protect garlic and leek from bacterial and fungal diseases that can occur throughout the production season. Check with your local county Extension agent for recommended chemical application programs to control diseases in these crops. Generally, under conditions favorable to disease development, broad-spectrum fungicide sprays will have to be applied every seven days. During drier conditions these sprays may be required only every 10 to 14 days.
Weed management is particularly important with these Alliums. They are poor competitors with weeds. Weed control should begin early when weeds are small and easier to control. Hand weeding as well as herbicides can be used to control weeds. Consult your local county Extension office for the latest information on available herbicides for weed control in these crops.
Harvesting and Handling
Unlike onions, garlic and elephant garlic don’t exhibit a breakdown of the neck tissue to signal maturity. Tops will become lighter green and exhibit some necrosis of the tissue, which is usually a good indicator of harvest maturity. This appearance should, of course, correspond with the harvest time. Such an appearance early in the crop should be a point of concern and probably represents a disease or nutritional problem. In addition, counting the number of wrapper leaves will indicate the maturity of the crop. The number of wrapper leaves around the bulb will decrease as the bulbs mature. Bulbs are ready for harvest when they have three to five wrapper leaves (Figure 2). Prior to harvest, several plants should be pulled from different locations in the field and the bulbs assessed as to size and number of wrapper leaves. The garlic or elephant garlic should have reached sufficient size for the crop and variety grown. Garlic and elephant garlic will require 180 to 210 days to harvest maturity. Leek should have sufficient size and several leaves forming a solid pseudostem before harvest. Leek requires approximately 150 days to harvest maturity.
Undercutting garlic and elephant garlic before harvest can facilitate the harvesting process. After drying, small quantities of garlic can have their tops woven together into groups for storage and sale. Most garlic and elephant garlic, however, will have the tops and roots removed after harvest. The bulbs should be cured by drying. Fans and heaters can help this process.
Leek will often have the leaf tops cut, leaving the white pseudostem and part of the green leaves attached.
Regular garlic is graded into several different size classes as a standard practice by the industry. However, elephant garlic is not; it will typically be twice the size of regular garlic at harvest. Garlic and elephant garlic can be stored for long periods (up to eight months or longer) if kept dry and cool. Leek, by contrast, is sold as a fresh market item much like scallions. They can be stored for two to three months at 32°F and 95 percent to 100 percent relative humidity.
The USDA recognizes only one standard for regular garlic, U.S. No. 1. The only size classification is a minimum of 1.5 inches in diameter. For more detailed information on USDA grades for garlic, contact the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service or visit it online at www.ams.usda.gov/standards.
Status and Revision History
Published on Apr 20, 2009
Published with Full Review on Apr 25, 2012
Published with Full Review on May 31, 2017
Jump To Recipe
When I roast garlic, I always reach for elephant garlic. It’s a larger bulb, which results in much larger cloves, and the flavor is more mild and sweet than a traditional bulb of garlic.
Elephant Garlic Vs. Regular Garlic
Begin by cutting the bulb in half, perpendicular to the cloves. Each clove should be sliced in half.
Elephant garlic is also different in that it tends to fall apart and lose its skins when you cut it, rather than staying in one tight pretty bulb as regular garlic does.
Place the cut garlic on a large sheet of aluminum foil and cover generously with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Then roll up the aluminum foil into a tight package and place in a 400 degree oven for one hour and 15 minutes. If you are using regular garlic, this time will be less. An hour should do the trick.
This is what my package looks like, but it really doesn’t matter as long as you have a tight seal. Now we wait for the magic to happen…
Breathtaking isn’t it?
Ok, that’s it. You’re all done. Toodle-oo!
Just kidding! Although that is the entire recipe. I told you it was stupid easy, right? But I know you wondering what to do with this masterpiece.
For a very impressive serving option, you can place a few individual cloves alongside grilled meats or vegetables. This would be great for a formal dinner party. But, I never have ‘formal’ anything.
I personally prefer a less fancy application.
Magic does happen in the oven as the garlic cooks. The flavor becomes more mild and sweet and the consistency of each cloves becomes that of softened butter. So I like to take advantage of that silky goodness.
Remove any leftover skins, transfer the bulbs to a bowl, and mash the garlic with a fork. Golden brown and delicious!
You can use this paste as a pizza sauce, a stuffing for beef or pork wellington, a pasta sauce…really anything you can imagine. The other night I made this truly divine roasted garlic cheese bread. So good, and so much better for you! The consistency of the garlic makes it so that you hardly have to use any butter. The garlic is all the flavor you need.
In addition to the cheese. Of course.
But honestly, my favorite application is to just spread it on a piece of bread and eat it. This is a great appetizer.
The garlic spread is usually ready to eat before the rest of the meal. While I finish cooking, my husband and daughter come in the kitchen and we all snack on roasted garlic smeared bread until we’re *almost* too full to eat the proper meal I’ve prepared.
It’s my favorite time of day.
Yes, roasted elephant garlic is very yummy, and oh so good for you. And it can be as fancy and impressive as you want it to be.
But, it’s also an easy enough recipe that you can make it once or twice a week, giving your family a tradition and memory that they’ll always have. I hope when my daughter is grown, she remembers eating roasted garlic around the kitchen counter with daddy while momma cooked. If we can give her lots of sweet, simple memories like that, I think we are doing an above average job at this parenting thing.
Roasted Elephant Garlic Prep time 5 mins Cook time 1 hour 15 mins Total time 1 hour 20 mins Elephant garlic is larger than traditional garlic, and has a sweeter, milder flavor. Author: Bethany Recipe type: Appetizer Cuisine: Italian Serves: 4 Ingredients
- 1 Bulb of Elephant Garlic
- Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Slice the bulb of garlic in half perpendicular to the cloves.
- Place the garlic on a sheet of aluminum foil and season generously with olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Wrap the aluminum foil tightly around the garlic, making a sealed package.
- Roast in the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
- Serve as is, or mash with a fork and spread on bread.
3.5.3226AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE: buy or get emailed when available
ELEPHANT GARLIC GROWING INFORMATION © Frances Michaels
BOTANICAL NAME: Allium ampeloprasum (Ampeloprasum Group)
COMMON NAMES: Elephant, Russian or Levant Garlic
Elephant garlic is not a ‘true’ garlic but is closely related to a leek. It is very hardy with large blue-green strap-like leaves with a central rib, the flower stalk can be up to 2 m high. Large pink or purple flowers appear in spring and summer. The bulbs, weighing up to 500g, form under the soil, reaching 10 cm in diameter and consisting of 5 or 6 large cloves, surrounded by small bulblets. Plants that do not flower often form only one large, symmetrical clove known as a round, rather than a bulb. Plants grown from rounds, or from very large cloves, usually produce a large bulb with several cloves and a flower stalk. So elephant garlic tends to alternate between the production of cloves and the production of rounds and may go to seed only every second year. Elephantgarlic does best in rich, deeply cultivated, well-drained soil and likes full sun. It is a useful home garden vegetable especially in warmer, more humid climates where true garlic is difficult to grow. It can grow from the tropics to temperate regions.
Food: elephant garlic has a mild, sweet flavour that is somewhere between garlic and onion. Cloves are large, easy to peel and can be eaten raw, sliced into salads. It can also be steamed or boiled as a vegetable, cooked like onions in a soup or baked in the oven. Young leaves can be sliced and added to salads or used as a garnish. It is high in vitamins A, C and E.
Pest Control: useful as an ornamental planted at the back of rose gardens to repel pests such as aphids.
When: In cool climates plant in autumn or spring, in warmer climates they can be planted in spring, autumn or winter.
Planting Depth: The tops of the bulbs should be about 5 cm below the soil surface.
Sowing Rate: Plant about 30 cm apart.
Bulbs should be harvested when the flowers begin to dry out. This may not occur until the 2nd year after planting. Dig up the whole plant and hang the bulbs to dry, with part of the stem attached, in a shady position. Bulbs will store for up to 10 months.