© Denzil Green
Elephant Garlic is not a true garlic; it’s actually a perennial member of the leek family.
Above ground, its bluish-green leaves resemble grass, and can grow up to 3 feet (1 metre) tall.
The bulbs can grow up to 4 inches (10 cm) wide, and weigh up to a pound (450g), or more.
Inside, there are an average of 4 cloves. The cloves are the size of a grown-up’s thumb — sometimes as big as an entire bulb of regular garlic. The cloves separate so easily that the bulb is often sold in mesh to keep it together.
Garlic aficionados might be disappointed by how mild Elephant Garlic tastes. They often feel that it is simply devoid of flavour.
Others say this makes it an ideal “garlic” for using raw.
When grown in colder climates, though, it can have a more pronounced flavour, and it can taste almost sweet when roasted.
Choose firm heads with dry skin.
Don’t try to use Elephant Garlic as a one-on-one substitute for regular garlic. Use when you want just a subtle nod towards garlic flavour, or, use a lot more of it if you want to make up for the lack of pungency.
When frying, it can brown very quickly, and turn bitter.
Elephant Garlic doesn’t store as long as regular garlic.
Literature & Lore
An annual Elephant Garlic Festival has been held since 1997 in North Plains, Oregon.
A few growers in America are calling it “Buffalo Garlic.”