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Italian Purple Garlic
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Italian Purple garlic produces medium bulbs that are almost uniformly rounded, averaging 5 centimeters in diameter, and have a thick central scape surrounded by 8 to 12 plump cream-colored cloves. The thick outer layers of the white wrappers are streaked with violet purple or brown, and the bulb has a relatively easy-to-peel skin. The ivory cloves are slightly sweet and very spicy, which only increases with maturity. When eaten raw, a little goes a long way as the spice is slow to warm up and then briefly lingers on the palate.
Italian Purple garlic is harvested in the summer months.
Italian Purple garlic, botanically classified as Allium Sativum var. ophioscorodon, is one of dozens of Italian garlic varieties and is an heirloom rocambole hardneck garlic. Rocambole garlic is considered a special class of garlic as they develop a single row of cloves around a central hard stalk. Hard to grow outside of areas that do not experience true cold winters, rocambole garlic is particular about its growing conditions and once harvested, they have a very short shelf-life, which is uncommon for most garlic. Nonetheless, Italian Purple garlic has remained a favorite among gardeners for its color, flavor, and early harvest abilities.
Italian Purple garlic is an excellent source of manganese, vitamin B6, and allicin, which is the enzyme responsible the well-known aroma and flavor of garlic but also for its anti-viral properties.
Italian Purple garlic can be used in both raw and cooked applications. Crushing, finely chopping, pressing or pureeing the garlic releases more of its essential oils and provides a sharper, more assertive flavor than slicing or leaving it whole. Italian Purple garlic can be sautéed or baked in any recipe that calls for conventional garlic. It can be added to oils and butter to infuse a garlic flavor for cooking vegetables, seafood, or meats. It can also be chopped and incorporated into soups and salads. Italian Purple garlic pairs well with chilies, tomatoes, onion, cream, olive oil, soy sauce, citrus, starchy pasta, grilled steak, roasted meats, and seafood. Purple Italian garlic will keep up to ten months when stored in a cool and dry place.
In ancient times garlic was viewed by many cultures to be food for the lower classes, a stigma that arose from the pungent aroma garlic left on one's breath post-consumption. The debate over the strong smell continued into the modern day as there was a "no garlic campaign" launched in 2006 in Rome. The debate was over garlic's aromatic ramifications and the increased use of garlic in Italy's modern culinary scene. The campaign sought to eliminate garlic from culinary dishes, but the campaign was unsuccessful as many farmers and chefs believe garlic is essential to specific traditional dishes and should be used in moderation.
Italian Purple garlic originated in northern Italy and was first brought to the United States in the early 20th century. It has since been grown throughout the northern and western United States as it thrives in regions that experience cold winters. Today it is still considered a rare garlic with very limited commercial production and can be found at farmers markets in Italy and the United States.
Recipes that include Italian Purple Garlic. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Gimme Some Oven||44-Clove Garlic and Chicken Soup|
|Just a Taste||Roasted Garlic Macaroni and Cheese|