There are over 600 sub-varieties of garlic Allium Sativum that vary in size, shape, color, [smell], [taste], number of [clove]s per bulb, [stink|pungency] and shelf life. These sub-varieties all originate from the two main types of garlic, hard necked garlics Ophioscorodon, and soft necked garlics Sativum. From these types are five distinct varieties.
- Purple Stripe: Tend to be strong in flavor, thick [bulb] wrappers (some with [grape|purple] vertical [stripe]s) and fewer [shallot|cloves]. Common varieties include Metechi, Skuri #2 and Persian Star.
- Porcelain: Cloves are large and fat, few to a bulb, strong taste, covers are golden brown with some vertical [purple] stripes.
- Rocambole: [Dirty] thin wrappers, many purple splotches and grows well in [Minnesota|colder climates].
You may have seen [Elephant] garlic in your supermarket, this is really a [leek] and is very mild.
- [Artichoke]: Most [common] (and diverse), store well, very large [bulb]s, and are sometimes called "[Italian]" or "[Red]" garlic in [supermarket]s. Many different varieties (ranging in flavor) are; Simoneti (mild), Inchelium and Susanville (medium heat),Chinese Turban and Purple Cauldren (Hot). Asian Rose and Chinese Sativum are [creeper]s - they don't taste [hot] initially, but ten seconds later, WHEW!
- Silverskin: You usually see these in [braids] as they have the longest shelf life. These are generally hot, strong tasting cloves that aren't as big as Artichokes but are much more colorful. Some varieties are; Creole (mild) and Nootka Rose (medium).
When purchasing garlic, look for large outer cloves and firm heads. If it is sprouting, discard. Sprouted cloves are rubbery and have less flavor.
Garlic skin is often difficult to remove, a good smack with the side of a knife or the ball of a palm will usually [too loose a noose|loosen] the skin effeciently.
Garlic [don't harsh on my mellow|mellows] as it cooks. Raw garlic can overwhelm other flavors so use accordingly. If you burn garlic, it will turn bitter.