Known by its scientific name Allium sativum, garlic is a staple in almost every cuisine on the planet. A member of the onion family, which also includes leeks and shallots, garlic has been used for culinary and medicinal purposes dating back thousands of years.
References: The Cook’s Thesaurus, University of California- Davis, University of Maryland Medical Center, www.nationalgarlicday.com.
TYPES, VARIETIES & CUTS
Within the species, there are two subspecies: ophioscorodon or “hard-necked” garlic, and sativum or “soft-necked” garlic. Almost all supermarket varieties of garlic are soft-necked and include two types: silverskin and artichoke. Silverskin is the most common, though artichoke has a milder flavor with less cloves. Soft-necked garlic has the longest shelf life and grows well in a variety of conditions.
Hard-necked garlic is grown in climates with very cold winters, produces a flowered stalk, has fewer and larger cloves, and a moderate shelf life. There are three main types: rocambole, porcelain, and purple stripe. Other unique types that produce a flower are Asiatic, Creole, and Turban.
References: University of California, University of Minnesota Extension.