Spring Garlic

You can see the cloves starting to form on this one.

Sunday I got to the Farmers’ Market later than usual, it was already packed with people but choices were still good. The first thing I wanted to do was find the egg guy and trade in my used cartons. It seems like the only time I remember that I’m going to take them back is when I am at the market buying more eggs. Very happy with myself for finally remembering. Egg cartons returned and a fresh dozen in my basket I was off to see what looked good as far as vegetables go. I bought a nice bunch of chard, a green that I much prefer to kale or mustard greens, some beautiful, thin asparagus, some very nice baby spinach, more Fuji apples, tangerines and the subject of this weeks post, green or Spring garlic.

Garlic is a species in the onion family and green garlic is simply immature garlic, which has been pulled to thin the crop. Garlic, onions, shallots, leeks and chives are close relatives. Since I love all garlic’s cousins I guess it isn’t any surprise I love garlic. I love it in its mature form and delight every spring when I can get it in its immature form.

Green garlic is much milder than mature garlic. To use it trim off the root ends and any tough part of the green leaves. Chop or slice the white, light green and the first few inches of the dark green leaves (using only the leaves that are tender).

I read that the sticky juice within the cloves of mature garlic is used as an adhesive in mending glass and porcelain in China and that garlic has been around for about 6,000 years and is native to Central Asia. I also read that it was highly prized in early Egypt where it was even used as currency.

Here’s a little dish I prepared tonight using some of my fresh Spring garlic, left over baked Japanese sweet potatoes (Satsumaimo), a little butter and baby spinach.

First I thinly sliced the garlic, then placed it in a fly pan with a little butter and let the garlic gently cook until it had browned and was a little crispy. This isn’t something you would want to do with clove garlic as the taste of the garlic would be bitter. That doesn’t happen with the young version.  I then added the cooked garlic and butter to the Japanese sweet potatoes that had been peeled and mashed with a fork. Once this was done I made some little patties from the mixture then added them back into the frypan with just a touch of butter and gently fried the patties until they were crispy and browned, then turned them and did the same to the other side. When they were browned on both sides I removed them added the spinach and a splash of chicken stock (you can use water) added a lid and cooked the spinach until it had just wilted. That’s it, another one-pan yummy treat. Perfect for a spring evening.

You can find a recipe for green garlic and baby Bok Choy from one of my March 2010 posts here if you’d like another idea on how I’ve used it. It’s also excellent in any egg dish, think cheese and bacon omelet with spring garlic. If you can find Spring or green garlic at your Farmers’ Market or market, give it a try. I think you’ll like it.

10 thoughts on “Spring Garlic

  1. Daughter and I think this combination sounds very good! I have some spring garlic out in my garden that needs thinning, too.
    Have you ever steamed arugula?

  2. The 2011 Prairie Sagebrush Awards for blogging | Sage to Meadow

  3. This sounds delicious. I like the idea of combining sweet potatoes with garlic greens, and so easy to prepare.

    I can’t wait until we have fresh produce from the garden! Of course I’ll have to wait for a couple of months!

    • I have one more sweet potato and just enough garlic do the same thing again. I really liked it and it was easy to prepare.

      Do you start your garden in a greenhouse or just wait for the ground to thaw then warm up?

      • No, we wait for the ground to warm up. Usually the 3rd week in May. We grow vegetables using the intensive gardening method in raised beds comprised of soils carefully made by moi over the last 30 years. food is getting so expensive we decided to add another 300 square feet this year which will pack the freezer along with what we have now. We grow lettuce, tomatoes, spinach, green beans, lima beans, chard, corn, lots of squash both winter and summer, beets, peas, basil, carrots, and this year we hope to raise a larger variety of salad greens.

        My wife is a wonderful gardener and although I have been gardening longer she has a much better touch than I have.

    • The Farmers’ Market is a wonderful place to visit. If you go Cheryl, maybe it will inspire you to do one of your beautiful little illustrations with a nice verse about the earth or farming or ??? Are the markets open where you live or do you have to wait until June?

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