Garlic Leaves

My patient readers might be wondering by now why I have so damn many posts this year on the uses of green or immature garlic. The reason is simple: last summer I ordered my garlic sets as usual, forgot about it, and a few weeks later placed the same order again. When a LOT of garlic sets arrived in fall I decided to treat this as serendipity and planted them all, and the result is that I have hundreds to thousands of stalks of green garlic right at the moment. Since I have become interested in the health benefits of alliums, especially the green parts, I am thoroughly enjoying experimenting with ways to use them. Right now they are just beginning to send up scapes, and the stalk of the plant is hard and difficult to use well. But when I pull a few plants for the newly bulging bulbs, I find that the leaves are still green, and I decided to try using them as a leafy green vegetable. I washed a bunch of them, cut them in 1 inch sections crosswise, and blanched them in boiling water for two minutes.  This initial blanching seemed to tenderize them a lot, but if you insist, try cooking them without pre-blanching and see how it goes.  Then I slowly roasted in butter with a little salt and rich chicken broth for about 20 minutes, taking care that they did not dry out. I roasted them only because I was also roasting some chicken, and it would be easier to slowly sauté them on the stovetop. Make sure that there is enough broth that no part of the leaves dries out. Kept a little moist, they develop a lovely plush texture. This turned out to be a delicious vegetable, full of flavor but not excessively garlicky. The only thing I’m going to do differently in the future is cut them in shorter sections, about half an inch, since there is a suggestion of fiber in the mouth when cut to the longer length. I did not identify any actual fibers of the nasty kind that stick between the teeth, but I just think the mouthfeel would be better if cut shorter.
I am increasingly delighted to find that every part of the garlic plant is edible, versatile, and delicious, a true nose to tail vegetable with a boatload of health benefits besides. Right now garlic, shallots, onions, and multiplier onions occupy about a third of my total available garden space, and I think this is how it should be and will do the same again next year.
Incidentally, once the emerging scape begins to show at the top of the plant, the stalk is not worth trying to use except as a flavoring for broth, in my opinion. It is just too fibrous and tough. But soon the scapes will be elongating and they are eminently edible when young, so a couple of weeks of patience will provide you with a whole new vegetable.

5 responses to this post.

  1. What are the interesting shoots in the featured image? I assume it’s a WordPress glitch. My post on oregano has a picture of creeping charlie in the same spot which I did not have attached to the post. Just curious though.

    As for what you meant to write: I found this post hilarious. So glad you took advantage of the situation in such a delicious way.


  2. Posted by wooddogs3 on May 4, 2016 at 7:42 am

    Those are the leaves of the garlic, pulled off the stalk, chopped, and blanched. They are delicious when cooked in ways that keep them moist.


    • Oh no, I recognize those. That must have sounded like a dumb question. Check the post on the WordPress reader. It is displaying some picture above the post of some kind of shoots -fuzzy like arugula but they look quite large for that. I was curious what those are.
      Thanks for answering though.


      • Posted by wooddogs3 on May 4, 2016 at 4:56 pm

        This is news to me. How do I get to the WordPress reader?

      • I’m viewing it through the wordpress app. I just checked the post in my internet wordpress reader and it didn’t display the image.

        When my post I mentioned displayed the glitch image it also showed up on the email my followers received, but I only follow you on wordpress, so don’t see the email version of your posts.

        You might be able to view it on the email of your post if you follow yourself. I follow myself on both wordpress and email to check how the posts display. It has been very helpful in catching glitches before too many readers get confused.

        They have been pushing the desktop app for a while now if you want to download it. If you need any further direction let me know.

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