There are over 600 different varieties of garlic,
Below you will find the most popular types, or read on for detailed information
How to grow garlic at home – which and why?
The best type to grow & use will depend on where you live (your climate), where you want to grow it (indoors or outdoors), and how you want to use it (i.e. your recipes and food usage).
There are 3 main types
There tend to be 3 main types – softneck, hardneck and black. We think the best type to grow will be the hardneck types, although the messidrome is also worth considering.
This is the type of garlic you will find in most shops – mainly because they are cheaper & easier to grow than the other varieties.
Softneck garlics are a good all-purpose garlic that will work in almost any dish.
Please note : It is quite easy to grow, but (like all garlics) it does tend to smell when growing – you won’t notice it outside (terrace, balcony, etc.) but will notice it indoors.
The main ones to try:
- Albigensian – Very nice flavour for a softneck garlic and often used in vegetable and fish dishes. (Or when roasted)
- Germidour – Very easy to grow with a mild and sweet flavour. Ideal for all recipes where you want a ‘specific flavour’
- French Messidrome – Very often used in French kitchens, and ideal for use in slow cookers. Sweet and sharp with a regular taste. Probably the best garlic to grow of the softneck varieties.
Go into most top restaurants and you will probably spot the chef using a hardneck type. (As opposed to the softneck garlic varieties)
Hardneck are very flavoursome, sometimes even spicy & hot.
They are ideal garlic to grow at home for areas with very cold winters (such as the UK, Northern Europe, North America, etc.) so they are dormant and then start in the spring i.e. ideal for outdoors, vegetable garden plots, etc.
- Chesnok red – Great taste and possible the best type for roasting
- Purple stripe – Good ‘all purpose’ and will keep their flavour when using in cooking.
- Red duke – fiercely intense and spicy flavour. One of the strongest flavour you can grow at home,
hardneck Rocambole -Hot and full of flavour, they are a chef’s favourite and probably the best type to grow. Types include ‘Carpathian,’ ‘German Red,’ and ‘Spanish Roja.’
Harneck garlic – the scapes
In addition to the pods, the hardneck types will also produce scapes. A scape is what you call the flowering stalk growing in the middle of hardneck bulbs.
Very often the scape is removed in order to get a bigger bulb.
However scapes are delicious and can be used in a variety of ways. It will taste fresh, green with a hint of fresh.
You can either use them slightly steamed, or sauteed in butter & seasoned or as a paste for making your own pesto.
Scapes are in season during the spring and sometimes the early summer.
Other Types of garlic
Black Seeds – Ideal if you want to add a pleasant savory (even plummy) taste to meals. Very popular in Korean & Japanese recipes – but can even be used in desserts, chocolate cakes, etc.
Find out more?
I am currently growing some hardneck garlic at home – for more information visit my Instagram Page