Garlic Week! Gourmet Sampler With Russian Red Garlic & More
It’s always fun to try something new in the garden, especially garlic! You can taste-test it in so many dishes, bread, spreads, and dressings. Check out this sampling of gourmet garlic varieties, Russian Red Garlic, Metechi Garlic, and Spanish Roja Garlic, best suited for growing in Canadian winter climates.
Russian Red Garlic
Russian Red Garlic is a northwestern heirloom variety brought to North America by Doukhobor Russian immigrants in the early 1900s. It’s the most popular variety of garlic grown in British Columbia, and well-suited to our growing regions. Big beautiful bulbs with brownish purple wrappers can easily exceed 3” inches across, filling out the palm of your hand. Each bulb contains about 6-8 easy-to-peel cloves with robust garlic flavor and a warm lingering aftertaste. It’s hot when eaten raw. Russian Red garlic harvests late June or early July and is valued for being an early garlic that you can enjoy while waiting for longer storing varieties to mature. If you’re new to growing garlic you won’t be disappointed with this selection!
Said to grow like a weed and store like a rock, Metechi Garlic originates from the Republic of Georgia. This marbled purple-striped garlic produces hefty bulbs with 5-7 super-sized cloves. Purple striping appears as you peel down through the outer wrappers to the solid-skinned cloves with sharp pointed tips. If you love big, bold, and powerful garlic, this variety is for you! Its hot, fiery garlic flavour has a long-lasting aftertaste and stands up well in cooking. It roasts beautifully. One of the last varieties to harvest in late summer. If cured properly, you can store and enjoy Metechi throughout the winter.
Spanish Roja Garlic was brought to Oregon before the 1900s. Many garlic connoisseurs claim that when well grown, this variety showcases ‘true garlic flavour.’ It is described as rich, complex, and earthy with a pleasant spicy heat that sticks around for a long time. Spanish Roja is also prized for its flowering scape in the spring which can be harvested as a summer delicacy. Each bulb yields 8-12 large easy-to-peel, tan-skinned cloves. A friend in anyone’s kitchen, enjoy this garlic shortly after harvest in mid-summer as it stores through fall and into winter. This variety is a vigorous grower with excellent cold hardiness.