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Judith Browning
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Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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Several years ago I dug what I thought was a regular garlic at an old homestead site on our land. I divided and poked it in the ground at the edge of the yard. It made a round onion like bulb the first year then cloves and corms the next but I never used it or paid much attention to pulling all of it. I planted a few of the corms at the edge of a clayey garden area and left them (kind of forgot them really)... early this summer they sent up flower stalks and the three nicest ones had huge necks on them. Anyway I harvested those three and have cleaned and 'cured'...the largest weighs fourteen ounces and the next largest is close. I cant post pictures but from this description can someone confirm it as elephant garlic? I am confident that it is, from what I have read elsewhere. I used some of the smaller bulbs in some pesto and various uncooked things and found it garlicy but bitter...does that go away with cooking? I don't really like it compared to my 'real' garlic varieties but since it made such huge beautiful bulbs I thought I might grow some more for market...I know folks like it...but the bitter taste? I thought about trying it in a lacto fermentation I am making but didn't know if that would take away the bitter.
I would be interested in any information about elephant garlic...growing/cooking/fermenting....especially if some of mine is incorrect.
 
Leila Rich
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Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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I grow elephant garlic (e g) more for entertainment than anything. Like you, I find it a poor replacement for garlic, but it has its uses for me.
A few hints on how I id elephant garlic aside from the massive bulb and clove size:

If you grow hardneck garlic, some of these identifiers won't be much help...
They grow around the central stalk, like a hardneck. I grow softneck, so that's always a good indication for me
The cloves are generally a similar size, with none of the central skinny cloves of softneck
Softneck doesn't flower, eg does
The cloves usually have a single thick 'shell' of skin, rather than garlic's flaky layers
There's a distinct yellow/brown shade to the skin unlike any garlic I've seen.
E g produces 'pups'- small, uniform cloves- that detach from the bulb

Its flavour reflects its leek family, and like leeks, I find it unpleasant raw.
I haven't tried fermenting it. I love fermented garlic, so that could work for me!
I like roasting up big trays of root-type veges: carrots, potatoes, parsnips, celeriac, salsify, beetroot, sweet potato, JAs...with onion, gotta be onion,
I throw a bunch of unpeeled e g cloves and winter herbs like rosemary in half way through.
Eat with goats cheese and rocket
I've always heard that as with hardneck, it's best to cut the scape to make the plant focus on the bulb. Then again it's so prolific and the insects love it so much, I usually leave a couple to flower.


 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5723
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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Thank you, Leila...Great description...especially the color of the clove shell...it is distinctive
Do you plant just the 'pup' (I am not sure where I came up with corm or do you replant cloves? I paid so little attention to what I planted where and when I have no idea how to duplicate ths years 'success'! It must be that when I planted the pups/corms the plant went through the 'mother' bulb stage and planted from cloves it does not?
I have heard recently that leaving scapes doesn't really affect size all that much and leaving them on might actually help the garlic to keep longer...even though we were all getting to like them as a vegetable. I liked the big huge curvey stalked flowes on the EG and the bulbs got plenty big.
I plant my regular garlic in October here (our fall ) and it is ready to pull early summer...mid June or so. The same for EG? I did not know it was in the leek family...
 
Judith Browning
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Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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I found information that says if I plant the EG cloves in the fall...same as my regular garlic it will be mature the next summer. If I plant the corms it will take two years. And that sometimes smaller cloves produce undivided bulbs (like an onion) amd that they are edible also but you can plant them back in the ground and they will produce cloves the newt year.
Anybody else have experience with elephant garlic?
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