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Wet garlic is slightly larger than dried garlic and has a bulbous base that tapers into a thick, elongated stalk. The bulb ranges in color from crisp white to a blend of white and purple hues and is smooth with light striations and striping. Within the bulb, the hard, papery membranes have not yet formed leaving a few large white cloves tightly clumped together, and the soft flesh is crisp, aqueous, and entirely edible. The firm, pale green stalks are also edible and are crunchy and juicy with a fresh, green flavor reminiscent of spring onions. Wet garlic is smooth and mildly pungent, less spicy than dried garlic, and has a sweet and nutty flavor.
Wet garlic is available in the spring through early summer.
Wet garlic, botanically classified as Allium sativum, are young, fresh bulbs that have not been dried or hardened and are members of the Amaryllidaceae family. Appearing similar in shape to a dried garlic bulb, but being larger in size and missing the papery, hard skins and membranes, Wet garlic is typically the first crop of the season, harvested by hand at an immature stage, and is only available for a short amount of time. The use of Wet garlic has been around for centuries in some cultures, but it has recently increased in popularity among mainstream fresh markets as more chefs and home cooks are searching for gourmet, fresh flavors. Chefs favor Wet garlic for its mild flavor and tender texture, and both the bulb and the stalks can be used in a wide variety of raw and cooked applications.
Wet garlic contains vitamins B6 and C, calcium, phosphorus, copper, selenium, and manganese.
Wet garlic can be consumed raw as its tender flesh is milder and less pungent than its dried counterpart. Both the stalk and the bulb can be sliced thin and mixed into salads, sprinkled over soups, used as a topping on pizza, or layered in sandwiches. Wet garlic can also be sautéed as a side dish, cooked into omelets, roasted and spread on toast or baked potatoes, quickly cooked in stir-fries, mixed into pasta or risotto, or blended into pesto. Wet garlic pairs well with radicchio, spinach, and arugula, beets, carrots, broccoli, peas, bell pepper, mushrooms, potatoes, pak choi, and goat’s curd. The fresh garlic will keep up to seven days when stored in the refrigerator and it can also be hung, dried, and stored in a cool, dark, and dry place for up to nine months. When dried, the bulb will shrink considerably and may become smaller than common dried garlic as Wet garlic is harvested before the bulb reaches full maturity.
In Europe, Wet garlic is popular in France for its mild flavor and is a favored ingredient in bright, spring dishes using new potatoes, green peas, and asparagus. Considered a specialty item due to its short season, Wet garlic is highly regarded by French chefs and has grown increasingly popular at trendy restaurants in France as a unique way to add subtle flavoring to springtime dishes without the pungent spiciness of dried garlic. In addition to Wet garlic, smoked garlic has become a trending flavor in France to diversify the use of garlic in dishes. Wet garlic has also grown in popularity among home gardeners in England for its zero-waste nature as both the stalk and the bulb are edible. Some gardeners even choose to plant a small section of garlic in their gardens for the sole purpose of harvesting it in its fresh stage.
Garlic is native to Central Asia, with records dating back over six-thousand years, and has been cultivated since ancient times. The bulbs were then spread throughout Europe via the crusades and to the Americas via French, Portuguese, and Spanish explorers. Wet garlic, or the young bulbs of many different varieties, have also been used for hundreds of years and can be found through commercial farms, in backyard gardens, and through farmers markets in North, Central, and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia.
Recipes that include Wet Garlic. One is easiest, three is harder.
|All That I'm Eating||Wet Garlic Pizza Bread and Tiger Tomato Salad|
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