What can we say about Elephant Garlic? It is huge! The bulbs can be more than a pound, and one clove can be the size of a standard bulb. The flavor is mild, can be a bit bitter when raw, and sweet when cooked. Elephant garlic is not a true garlic, it is a variety of the leek.
Uses and Recipes
Elephant Garlic is unique in that it contains Allicin, the “garlicy” flavor of garlic AND syn-propanethial-S-oxide, found in onions and leeks, but not in true garlic. Due to its size, elephant garlic is perfect for roasting on the grill or in the oven and used as a spread on bread and toast. Its mild flavors work well in soups. Add a clove or two to the potatoes for garlic mashed potatoes.
Origin and History
Sometime around 1941 Elephant Garlic was found to being grown in a backyard in Oregon by a family who were of Bohemian origin. Elephant Garlic is more of a marketing name, prior to 1953 or so it was just called giant garlic. It most likely originated from Czechoslovakia or Yugoslavia. Elephant Garlic is not a hybrid of onion and garlic as some claim, it is neither a leek nor a garlic, it is its own plant that has the characteristics of both.
Elephant Garlic from KMB Farms
AT KMB Farms we grow all our garlic in a natural and sustainable way as possible. Each clove is hand planted in soil that is free of pesticide, herbicides, fungicides and petroleum based fertilizers. We use compost sourced from local Horse farms, Manure is rich in sulfur compounds, providing the nutrients needed by the garlic to produce the allicin. Weed control is done with the use of a corn starch based plastic that is biodegradable. We use organic fertilizers and harvest by hand. The garlic is cured for 3 weeks, cleaned sorted and sold fresh. The seed garlic we offer is the top sized bulbs, the culinary garlic is somewhat smaller but just as flavorful.
Growing Elephant Garlic
Elephant Garlic has the same growing requirements as other garlics. It does well in cold, like moist but not wet soils. For us it has been a reliable producer year after year. It will produce bulbuls at the base of the bulb, you can save and plant these to produce what is called rounds, a more onion like bulb without cloves, and these can be used or saved and replanted the second year for truly large bulbs. Please refer to our how to grow garlic page for more details on growing garlic.