Garlic varieties for sale in supermarkets are often simply labelled ‘Garlic’ or ‘Argentinian Garlic’ and sometimes ‘Imported Garlic’. When looking for different varieties of garlic home chefs and gardeners alike are often disappointed at what is available for sale.
In the supermarkets the ‘no name’ garlic and often from overseas often lack the real flavour of garlic. However if you look carefully many good named varieties are available in Australia.
Rojo de casto or ‘Cuban Purple’ is a popular heirloom variety and is usually a deeper red than any other garlic, a milder sweeter tasting garlic that is from Spain not Cuba. Great for pesto as it is not hot when raw.
Californian late is a fairly common garlic, a good garlic for storing this is a fairly strong tasting garlic and grows well in cold climates and tolerates hot climates better than many.
The three types of garlic and Eleven Groups
The groups are : Artichoke, Silverskin, Asiatic, Creole, Middle Eastern, Turban, Glazed Purple stripe, Marbled Purple stripe, Porcelain, Rocambole and Standard Purple stripe.
- Softneck garlic
Softneck Garlics have no central flower stem, Softneck Garlic is the most commonly found in supermarkets as they last a little longer on the shelf, however Softneck Garlics also tend to have smaller cloves than hardnecks. Softnecks are easy to grow and last longer once harvested include: Silverskin, Turban, Californian late, Garlic cream, Australian white, Italian white, Chinese pink, Transylvanian and Creole.
- Hardneck garlic
Hardneck Garlics is easily identified by the central flower stalk. Hardneck garlics are best suited to to areas with low humidity. Hardneck Garlics really do need a cold winter, however they do have the most flavour: include Monaro Purple, Garlic glamour, Purple stripe, Porcelain, Italian purple and Russian red. They do not store as well as softneck types.
- Elephant garlic
Seems like a great idea, large garlic cloves that can be roasted whole, however we do not like the taste that much and prefer other types of garlic. This sometimes referred to as Russian garlic however we should be looking at Russian Pink garlic NOT ‘Elephant’ Garlic.
Although many varieties of garlic are available in Europe, Australia has a much smaller range for sale than those listed.
Other Hardneck Garlic Varieties:
Armenian Porcelain, Asian Tempest, Bogatyr, Brown Tempest, Bzenc,Chesnok Red, Flowerpot Garlic, French Germinador, Georgia Crystal, Georgia Fire, German Hardy, German Porcelain, German Red, GermanWhite, Guatemalan Ikeda, Italian Purple, Killarney Red, Korean Red, Lavigna, Leningrad,Marino, Metechi, Morado Gigante, Persian Star, Polish Hardneck, Purple Glazer, Purple Stripe, Pyong Vang Korean, Red Rezan, Romanian Red, Rosewood, Russian Giant, Russian Red, Shatili, Siberian, Spanish Roja, Stull, Temptress, Vekak Czech, Xian
Other Softneck Garlics include:
Achatami, Acropolis Greek, Applegate, California Early, Chet’s Italian Red, Chinese Pink, Early Italian Red, Flowerpot Garlic, French Tarne, Inchelium Red, Kettle River Giant, Lorz Italian, Nootka Rose, Polish White, Red Italian, Red Toch, Shantung Purple, Siciliano, Silver Rose, Silverskin, Silverwhite, Simonetti, Susanville, Transylvanian, Turban, Tuscan.
Our Top 6 Garlic Varieties
- Spanish roja – A Hardneck variety, this is one which think has excellent flavour. One of the Creole group, and with a hot and spicy flavour is excellent in a range of culinary uses.
- Tasmanian Purple – from the Turban group, this is a garlic with a rich sweet taste, fairly mild and easy to grow.
- Monaro Purple – Another from the Turban group, excellent flavour, hot raw, yet milder cooked.
- Rojo de Castro – From the Creole group, this is one of our favourites, a hot nutty flavour both raw and cooked. It is a variety that likes drier conditions than most. Excellent in Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia
- Deerfield – From the Rocambole group this variety is from Vietnam, more warm and rich in flavour however it does not store as well as some others. Remove the scapes as they appear.
- Dunganski – This is a Hardneck Variety and a part of the standard purple striped group. From Uzbekistan. Excellent flavour and rated as moderate to hot. When cooked the flavour is best described as nutty. Best in cooler climates. In warmer areas try refrigerating the cloves before planting. Remove the scapes as they appear, to achieve larger sized bulbs.
You may also be interested in How to grow garlic
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