Yield: 1 servings
Elephant garlic is really a variety of leek that sets huge underground cloves and tastes like mild garlic. Elephant garlic is big and the cloves are easy to peel, but some say the cloves are too juicy to saute nicely however when used raw, the juicy mildness is a great asset.
To encourage the largest cloves possible, it helps to pick the flower buds before they open. Most elephant garlic will begin to flower in late May and into June. Pick the flower just as soon as the buds begin to swell and keep it like a bouquet in water in the refrigerator. They are delicious when quickly cooked and marinated into refrigerator pickles. The buds are sometimes labled "garlic tops", "garlic whistles"," garlic bud spears" or "garlic flower buds".
Edible garlic buds are a most seasonal product - short season - so if you wait too long to pick them they'll be too fibrous and tough. If you miss the best picking time, just let them go on and become flowers. A late-summer bouquet of 3 foot tall dried garlic flowers is dramatically beautiful.
If you decide to plant some elephant garlic yourself, wait until fall.
Usually plant by the shortest day of the year and harvest the cloves shortly after the longest day of the year. You can prevent bitterness by always curing and keeping garlic cloves in the dark.
Source: Excerpted from the Oregonian FoodDay by Maryanne Caruthers Typos by Dorothy Flatman 1995
Submitted By DOROTHY FLATMAN On 06-28-95