Fresh garlic and wild garlic: spring resources

Fresh and wild garlic: spring resources

March 18, 2018

In the opening picture, you can see a fresh garlic plant. You may find it at farmers’ markets, perhaps also in some better supplied supermarkets.
Never tried this ? Do now, since within short time you will not find it anymore, until next year. It is a seasonal product, a spring resource.
Fresh onions are not, they are available year round. In fact, onions are propagated by seeds, so it is enough to sow seeds and, after a while, you have the fresh onions. Garlic no, it does not produce seeds. Garlic is propagated by planting bulb cloves, that have however their own biorhythm: they stay dormant for some time, during which they do not sprout. After that, they will sprout, following their cycle; if the new plantlet is let to grow, it will end up producing a new complete bulb, the one that can be stored.
But so, why to consume it earlier ? Well, in past times, at the onset of spring, there was often a lack of fresh vegetables; in fact, it was not like nowadays, when we can find everything at any time, coming from all around the world. In the past, the coming of spring opened the games to pick all what was available: wild greens, sprouts and much more; things that are becoming a fashion at present times, but we will have occasions to further speak about that. And, not last, stored garlic bulbs could have been all consumed during winter!  So, also fresh garlic, before the onset of bulb formation, or only little later, was in the number of spring resources.
So, if you are not among the ones that “No, garlic never !”, try it. You can use fresh garlic either raw or cooked but, important: do not throw the greens away!
By the way, do you know that genus  Allium is among the biggest, including over 700 species, mostly from the temperate or cold areas of the northern hemisphere? Potentially, most of them are edible, in some moments of their life cycle. We have many of them also in our flora. If you live, or sometimes go, in some Mediterranean areas, but in the cooler places, you may find now plenty of Allium triquetrum; its leaves are tasty, mildly pungent and sweetish. Again, go now: after flowering and seed set the aerial parts will disappear, until next winter. Do not be dubious to pick a bit of this garlic: in the places where it grows, it is usually very abundant, almost a weed; okay, do not dig out the bulbs, that are by the way not very satisfactory: they are small and often very deep into the soil, definitely not worth the effort.

A fresh garlic plant, ready to be prepared

A mixed salad with fresh garlic and season greens

Allium triquetrum in flower; it is common in humid places of the Mediterranean area,

Surprise: also the flowers are excellent: they have a sweetish taste, with a garlic and nectar flavour; they will make a masterpiece out of a cherry tomato salad.
If you want, in the appropriate season, it is also possible to organise a walk to pick wild garlic: think about it.

Fresh and wild garlic. Filippo D’Antuono. All rights reserved.