I will admit it: I am a garlic fiend. I loooooove love lurve garlic. So in the spring, when various fresh garlic varieties start cropping up, it means I can include garlic in my food in so many more ways than usual, and it makes me very happy.
Green garlic, Fresh Garlic, or Garlic Scapes?: There are a few varieties of non-dried garlic that can be found this time of year. Green garlic (which I’m focusing on) looks a bit like an overgrown scallion. It’s basically just garlic that’s been picked before the bulbs are fully formed. Fresh garlic resembles dried garlic, in that the bulbs have further developed and distinct cloves exist (though it still has green stalks and is much lighter in flavor than dried). Garlic scapes are the curling tops of garlic plants and they have a distinctive swirly shape. They are also, need I say, delicious.
Uses: Fresh garlic has a wonderfully mild flavor, which means you can use it wherever you’d use garlic but way more of it. Instead of a clove or two in a soup, you can use 3-4 stalks of the stuff. And you can also use it where you wouldn’t use garlic — for instance, as the primary ingredient in a pesto (a raw garlic pesto would probably give you garlic breath for a year).
Storage & Prep: Buy green garlic that’s bright and not wilting. It will keep in the fridge for several days (think of it like scallions). You may need to peel away the outer layer of the bulb, but you can use the bulb and the light green stalks (once they get tough, chop them off and throw them in a pot of stock).
Get ready to get garlicky!