Veg hero – wet garlic

Those among you who are warily eyeing a pair of odd-looking leeks in your veg box, fear not. Welcome to the world of wet garlic. Essentially ordinary garlic harvested before the bulb and cloves are fully formed, wet garlic deserves no less a place in your cooking than its older, dried brethren. It is milder and sweeter in flavour, and works well in every dish you would use dried garlic in, just add it later in the cooking process and use more of it. For the more adventurous, try it chopped straight into salads, stir fries or risotto, or even to jazz up your scrambled eggs. Don’t be afraid to use the whole thing – bulb, stalk and even leaves, provided they are in good condition.

Growing garlic is relatively pain-free as far as pests and diseases are concerned, no doubt partly thanks to its natural pungency. The fiddliest part of its cultivation is in the planting itself. Firstly the cloves have to be separated from the bulbs – picture a circle of people among bulging sacks, boxes of cloves, mounds of floaty, papery vegetation and a pervading whiff of garlic, and you get the idea. When it comes to planting in October, the cloves have to be put in the soil pointed-end-up, as otherwise the shoot has to make a u-turn, wasting precious time and energy in the process and generally resulting in a weaker plant. Because of this little idiosyncrasy, garlic must be planted by hand. For the acre and a half of garlic we have growing here in Devon that meant placing over 100,000 cloves within five days; quite a task for our harvest manager, Martin, and his team.

5 responses to “Veg hero – wet garlic

  1. Jenny Goddard

    Wow makes me appreciate Garlic a lot more, I have not been successful yet in gowing my own, so looking forward to your harvest….

  2. thanks for this, I can use it on my own overwintered ‘wet garlic’

  3. Wet garlic is widely available in Thailand, where I lived for several years. There it is known as ‘ton gratiam’, which loosely translates as ‘garlic stem’, whereas spring onions are known as ‘ton hom’ (onion stems). I highly recommend it in a stir fry, perhaps with some spring greens, some soy sauce and a dash of sesame oil.

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  5. Liked your comment on wet garlic, can u lead me to successful directions forplanting fall garlic, zone 7, clayish soil, Not successful for my spring planting

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