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Green Garlic

A spring culinary treat that does not receive as much fan fare as it deserves. 

Article by: Barbara Bowman

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About Green Garlic

This mild stage of garlic may be hard to find unless your have access to a farmers market  that sells this delicacy (from March to May) or you garden and grow your own.


Research is being done by the Tainan District Agricultural Improvement Station in Taiwan to develop a strain of garlic that can be grown in warmer temperatures to produce summer green garlic. (Source: TNDAIS).  This advancement will greatly enhance the commercial availability of green garlic.  In the meanwhile, given garlic is such an easy plant to grow we encourage you to toss some in your garden and give it a try.

Culinary Uses

In general green garlic can be used in any recipe that calls for mature garlic.  The end product will produce a delicate flavor, more mild than matured raw garlic.

Raw Green Garlic

Mince and add to salads

Pound it into a paste to make green-garlic aioli

Use in salad dressings
Cooked Green Garlic

Poach the last 4" of the tips and dress with a mustard vinaigrette

Blanch in water or chicken stock and puree it.  Add the puree to a custard or soufflé.

Dice and sauté the tender portions and add to an omelet or frittata

Chop and add to stir-frys

Chop and add to homemade potato soup

Grow Your Own

Northern U.S. - Plant 4 -6 weeks before the ground freezes.
Milder Climates - Plant from October to January

1. Separate the cloves from the bulb, do not peel them.

2. Plant cloves in a prepared bed with the pointed side up, burying them about 1 inch deep in mild climate or 2 - 4 inches deep in cold winter climate.  Cloves should be planted a minimum of 4 inches apart with 8 inches between rows.  For the largest bulbs, plant 6 inches apart with 12 inches between rows. 

3.  Cover with up to 2" of mulch.

4.  Water sufficiently so that soil remains moist but not wet and soggy.

5. Feed with organic fertilizer like chicken manure (side dress). You may also use a spray-on fertilizer that gets absorbed through the leaves. 

Once the plant starts setting bulbs, stop fertilizing.  During the growth period keep the plants evenly moist. Don't let the bed dry out, and don't over water.

6.  It is time to harvest green garlic in the spring when stalks are tender and have reached the length of an average scallion (green onion). This is before the bulblets begin to develop.

Buy Seed Garlic

Untreated garlic from the grocery store can be used to grow garlic.  If you are unsure if it is treated you can purchase "seed" garlic from your local nursery or from one of these online sources

Filaree Farms - Sells almost 100 varieties.

Irish Eyes - Resource for many varieties of garlic for growing.

Prepare And Store

If you are going to purchase green garlic look for green stalks that are not yellowing or blemished. 
Prepare - Similar to leeks, green garlic stalks trap dirt and sand within the leaves. Rinse each stalk carefully. Once washed, the entire stalk can be used.

Store - If you are growing the garlic then harvest right before you use it.  Green garlic can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three or four days.
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Green Garlic Recipes

Sources And Resources

As we researched recipes and information for our Garlic article we stumbled upon recipes for green garlic.  Much of the information we gathered came from a newsletter called Food & Farm notes written by Terra Brockman.   Terra's brother is Henry Brockman who is proprietor of an organic farm (Henry's Farm)  in Illinois that produces over 500 varieties of organic produce.  We thank Terra for her work and her recipe contributions.

Terra Firma Farm was another source for additional information about green garlic.  This organic farm is located in Winters, California.  They have an interesting program that delivers boxes of fresh organic produce to city dwellers.  Their Back to Basics page is an excellent resource for learning about prepare, store, and cook fresh vegetables.

Green Garlic Nutrition

garlic, 1stalk, green
Total fat (g)0.015
Saturated fat (g)0
Monounsaturated fat (g)0
Polyunsaturated fat (g)0.007
Dietary fiber (g)0.063
Protein (g)0.191
Carbohydrate (g)0.992
Cholesterol (mg)0
Sodium (mg)0.510
Vitamin C (mg)0.936

Last updated: 10/25/2012