Allium ampeloprasum L. (synonym: Allium porrum)
Elephant garlic is also known as the Great Headed Garlic. Giant Garlic or Levant garlic. Below is a photo of elephant garlic on the left and true garlic (Allium sativum) on the right
What is elephant garlic?
Elephant garlic is a cultivated variety of the wild leek Allium ampeloprasum. It has large bulbs and cloves resembling those of true garlic in shape and structure but they have a mild garlicky flavour. The true garlic belongs to the species Allium sativum and has smaller bulbs and cloves with a more pungent flavour.
Other cultivated varieties of the wild leek in order of importance are: Leek, Pearl onion, and Kurrat.
What does the plant look like?
Elephant garlic is a perennial plant with a tall and solid flowering stalk and broad flat leaves that look like leek but they form a large bulb at the base, with 3-6 very large garlic-like cloves. The bulbs can weigh up to 450g (Ib). The cloves can be used like garlic but they have a much milder flavour and are easier to peel.
How is Elephant Garlic cultivated?
Elephant garlic is propagated vegetatively, from the cloves or corms. In its first year of cultivation from corms, it will only produce one large clove, which is known as “Single Clove Elephant garlic”. In its second year of growth, It will produce multiple cloves, usually 3-6.
What is the Flavour of elephant garlic compared to true garlic?
The cloves have a mild garlicky flavour which is preferred by those who find the pungency of garlic too strong, especially, when used raw in salads. They taste better when cooked.
Fresh Elephant Garlic contains a lot of moisture, and should be left to dry for a few months as this will bring out the flavour, better.
How is elephant garlic used?
Elephant garlic lacks the pungency of garlic which is preferred by some. Crushing, chopping, pressing or pureeing Elephant garlic releases more of its essential oils and provides a more assertive flavour than slicing or leaving it whole.
It can be roasted whole in the oven or the grill, and then used as a spread with butter on toast.
Its larger size makes it perfect for slicing and deep frying to make large garlic chips.
Its mild flavour also makes it ideal for use raw in salads.
Storage of Elephant Garlic
Keep Elephant garlic in a cool dry, dark, place away from humidity. If stored properly un-cut Elephant garlic can keep up to six months.