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Music garlic is a hardneck variety, identified by a stiff, woody stem running through the center of the bulb. Each bulb is tightly wrapped in layers of porcelain white, thin, papery skin and contains an average of 4 to 7 extra large cloves per bulb. Each clove is wrapped in a mauve, pink or brown-tinged skin, depending on the season. Raw Music garlic is aromatic and offers a medium-hot, ‘true garlic’ flavor.
Music garlic is available in the summer through winter months.
Music garlic is a hardneck variety popular among chefs and home growers. It is botanically known as Allium sativum var. ophioscorodon. The very large variety is known for its shiny white, easy to peel skin and long shelf-life. Music garlic is the most widely planted variety in Canada and makes up 90% of the garlic production in the state of Ontario.
Music garlic is rich in manganese and vitamin B6, as well as vitamin C and copper, and contains selenium, phosphorus, vitamin B1 and calcium. Music garlic in particular contains high levels of allicin, a sulfur-containing compound that provides antioxidant and antibacterial properties. Allicin is produced when garlic is crushed and is more potent in raw form.
Music garlic is used raw, in cooked applications, and can be cooked whole. Use Music garlic in any recipe calling for garlic. One large clove can be enough to flavor an entire dish. Roasting or baking the bulbs will bring out the natural sugars, creating a caramelized effect. Use the potent garlic for gamey meats and in vinaigrettes alongside mustard or vinegar. Infuse oil or vinegar with the large cloves. Music garlic are excellent for storing and will last up to 9 months in a cool, dry and well-ventilated space.
Music garlic is well-known throughout Canada and is the most commonly grown. In the eastern Canadian state of Ontario, the name “Music garlic” is often synonymous with ‘Ontario garlic’. Six different garlic festivals are held across Ontario during August and September, celebrating over 70 different varieties grown locally. The Toronto Garlic Festival is held annually in September ad features Music garlic from several local farms.
Music garlic was believed to have been brought to Canada from Italy during the 1980s. The porcelain-type garlic was named for Al Music, a tobacco farmer turned garlic grower who introduced the variety to Canada. Music garlic is well-adapted to the cooler temperatures of the Canadian south and American Pacific Northwest. It grows best in areas with cooler summer months and thrives in climates with cold winters. Music garlic can be spotted in grocery stores and at farmers markets.