Spring Garlic

I have a confession to make: I have a veggie crush this spring. I have found myself to be head-over-heels for spring garlic! I love alliums (the onion family: leeks, shallots, onions of all colors, garlic varieties etc…) of all kinds.

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The allium family is diverse and is unified by a similarity in seed production strategies and structures, as well as their unique sulfur-containing compounds. Alliums make beautiful flowers in spring bulb flower bed plantings, and chives add just the right freshness and flavor to so many summer dishes, grilling bacon-wrapped shallots on the late summer grill is a great way to make memories, onions are the workhorse of fall and winter stews, and it is becoming obvious why the French are obsessed with leeks- and these are just a few of the wonderful members of the allium family.Garlic is well-known for having healthful benefits when eaten, such as antioxidants, immune boosting properties, and even cancer prevention.

In the garden, alliums can deter pests by being planted throughout a garden, as a surrounding border that can discourage deer and other herbivorous pests, or made into a natural insecticidal tea.

I especially love the “weird ones,” those you find in your CSA box or the adventurous booths at the Farmer’s Market and get to learn more about. I mean really, have you had garlic scapes?! They are amazing! However, they should not be confused with my spring crush:

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Spring Garlic –

Reminiscent of a leek, in look and use but originating from a fall-planted clove of garlic. The spring garlic is like a garlicky, leek, green onion. It turned up in our first CSA box this year, and has been included in most of my culinary pursuits over the last three weeks. I tend to use a lot of garlic and onions in my cooking in general. This time of year though, all but the best-stored onions and garlic are coming in from other places. Fortunately, Omache Farm, like many other farmers and gardeners in the area, planned ahead. They planted this year’s crop of alliums, like garlic and leeks, last fall then started onions from seed mid-winter, so that they would be ready for our first CSA boxes and beyond.

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I’ve been putting spring garlic in literally everything I’ve been cooking lately. I think this is the reason for my crush – it has such a great flavor and is so versatile. I put it in baked beans and anything with chicken, including while making broth. All of the delicious morel stuff I’ve been cooking up lately – yep, all had spring garlic.

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I invite you to give it a try when you find it at the Pullman Farmer’s Market or one of the Moscow Markets on Tuesday at the 1912 or Saturday on Main St.

If you do, please share with us where you found it and how you ate it by commenting below!

Always with gratitude- especially to Shane McFarland for always helping to clean up the mess I make!

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Garlic is good for you:

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/09/25/benefits-of-garlic_n_3990616.html

Prevents cancer:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11673117

Even Oprah loves Alliums!

http://www.oprah.com/health/The-Allium-Family-Dr-Perricones-No-2-Superfood

Taxonomic classification:

http://www.ext.colostate.edu/mg/gardennotes/122.html

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