Hardneck varieties of garlic are the more dramatic with fewer but much larger cloves. Hardnecks prefer cold winter climates. They have less of an outer bulb wrapper which makes them more sensitive and reduces their shelf life. As they grow, they produce a stalk that coils from the top called a “scape” or garlic flower. Scapes can be harvested and used for creative cooking before the garlic itself is actually harvested (see recipes). We will have scapes for sale in May and June (see scapes on order page).
There are three main types of hardnecks: Rocamboles, Porcelain, and Purple Stripe.
- Rocamboles tend to grow better in cold winter climates and produce large, tan or brown colored cloves, easily peeled skins, with a deep full-bodied flavor, considered by some to be the finest tasting garlic of all. Currently, we are not growing any Rocamboles.
- Porcelains produce a beautiful plant and impressive bulb. They have a satiny white wrapper with four to six cloves around a sturdy scape. Porcelains are easy to peel and great for cooking. As a group, the porcelains have the highest yields of allicin, the sulfur compound most associated with garlic’s therapeutic benefits. The porcelain types we grow are: German Extra Hardy, Music and Georgian Crystal.
- Purple Stripes are named for their vivid purple striping on the bulb wrappers and cloves skins. Their taste is strong, complex and richly garlicky,without being overly sulfurous. Many regard purple stripes the best for roasting. Purple stripes are further broken down into two groups: Glazed and Marbled. In the purple stripe category we grow Chesnok Red.
Softneck varieties are those most commonly found in supermarkets because they have a longer shelf life than the hardneck varieties. Softnecks are the variety used to make garlic braids. You can recognize the softneck varieties by the papery white skin and the abundance of cloves, often forming several layers around the central core. These are the most adaptable garlics and will grow in a variety of climates.
Softneck garlic is further broken down in two main types: Silverskin and Artichoke.
- Silverskin type is the most common and easy to grow. At this time we are not growing Silverwhite.
- Artichoke type is larger, may have fewer but larger cloves and a milder flavor. The bulb wrappers on the artichoke varieties are coarser than the silverskin and may have some purple blotches. At this time we do not have any Artichoke types available.