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Growing Elephant Garlic

Elephant garlic is larger than regular garlic and has a milder taste. The tall, solid, flowering stalks and broad, flat leaves of the elephant garlic resemble its cousin, the leek, but unlike leeks, elephant garlic forms a bulb typically made up of four to six very large cloves. The plant is quite large, but otherwise resembles the ordinary garlic.

It flowers rapidly, forming a round composite flower head at the top of a long 30-40cm stalks called a scape. This scape is solid and becomes rather woody very quickly. The leaves are flat and thin.

As the plant matures, it also produces edible flowers. If you nip the flower buds out it encourages larger bulbs. If you let them flower the flower buds are very tasty pickled like capers.

Elephant garlic has a long shelf life, and because of its large size, is easy to chop and can be peeled with little effort. Like smaller varieties, elephant garlic is full of vitamins and minerals

Just like white or pink garlic, elephant garlic originates from Central Asia. Garlic has been cultivated for more than 5,000 years, which makes it one of the most ancient ever cultivated. Garlic has always held an important place in history, whether in superstition or in medicine, as well as having been an essential ingredient in many regional dishes.

Culinary tips and advice

Select plump, firm bulbs that are free of sprouts or stains and have intact skin. For easy peeling, crush garlic lightly with the flat side of a knife, the skin will come off almost by itself. Because of its large size, elephant garlic is an excellent choice for roasting in the oven.

Unpeeled Garlic Bulbs on the Barbecue

Garlic bulbs, olive oil, salt

Preheat barbecue to medium.

Cut to top of each bulb to expose the cloves.

Brush with oil, add salt.

Oil a sheet of aluminium foil and wrap the bulbs

Grill covered about 45 minutes.