Green Garlic

photo credit: gourmetsleluth


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.

History Of Green Garlic

Garlic originated in either India or Asia (the exact origin is unknown). Each year the crop must be thinned to make room for the mature garlic crop.  These immature garlic bulbs with their long greens actually became a secondary crop for the farmers.

Today, garlic is grown in all but the most Northern, cold locations, worldwide.  The practice of preserving the green garlic thinnings has continued so they are available in farmer's markets each spring.  

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 

Fun Fact about Green Garlic

Nutrition Information For Green Garlic

Serving Size
1 cup
Calories from Fat
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g
Saturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 23mg
Total Carbohydrate 45g
Dietary Fiber 3g
Sugars 1g
Protein 9g
Vitamin A  0% Vitamin C  0%
Calcium  0% Iron  0%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

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.  
  6. 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.
  7. 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

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.


Barbara Bowman graduated with degree in Foods and Nutrition from San Jose State University. As CEO of she spends most waking hours writing, cooking, eating, gardening and traveling.