Garlic Makes It Good

Kick up the flavor with one of nature's most powerful herbs.

| August/September 2008

  • Enjoy subtle garlic flavor in spring and early summer by harvesting and cooking the bulb's tasty young greens and flower stalks, known as “scapes.”
    Rob Cardillo

“Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian; wine and tarragon make it French. Sour cream makes it Russian; lemon and cinnamon make it Greek … Garlic makes it good.” 

— Alice May Brock, author of Alice’s Restaurant cookbook.

This article is part of our Guide to GarlicClick here for growing tips or click here to learn about garlic's health benefits.

From subtle to spectacular, garlic’s flavor palette is almost as wide-ranging as its number of varieties. One tiny, fresh clove can deliver a powerful punch, yet an entire handful of bulbs, when roasted or gently sweated in olive oil, can melt into a tender puree with a sweet, deceptively mellow flavor.

A member of the lily plant family, garlic (Allium sativum) shares its lineage with leeks, onions, shallots and chives. Like its pungent relatives, garlic is more vegetable than seasoning: Although garlic greens make tasty springtime fare, we most often use the fleshy, underground bulbs that separate into cloves—each neatly wrapped in paper-thin skin.

Knowing even a little bit about the types (softneck and hardneck), groups and some of the hundreds of cultivars can give you a master’s edge in the kitchen.

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