Co-incident or what, food items with the word purple are of premium quality than its counterparts.
Like purple tea, purple cabbage, purple carrot, and the list go on.
The common feature of all these purple produce is that they are rich in anthocyanin: a powerful anti-oxidant that boosts the immunity, prevents cancer, etc
Shouldn’t we unveil one more purple foodstuff that’s pretty common in our kitchen?
THE PURPLE GARLIC.
1. Purple Garlic is Different Than The White Garlic
But before that, let’s find out what it actually is.
What is Purple Garlic?
Purple garlic or purple stripe garlic is one of the hard neck varieties of garlic which has purple stripes on the outer skin.
They have fewer easy to peel cloves with an intense aroma, spicy flavor, and higher content of allicin. A small round stalk in the middle of the cloves is another sign of purple garlic.
Botanically it is classified as Allium Sativum var. ophioscorodon, same genus, and family as an onion has.
Many countries produce purple garlic of which Italian, Spanish, Australian, Mexican, Tasmanina, Chinese and Russian are known better than others.
Purple vs. White Garlic
Purple garlic is smaller in size and has fewer cloves than the white one.
Talking about the taste, the purple-striped garlic has milder odor and taste and lasts longer than the white.
However, the white garlic has much longer shelf life than the purple garlic.
The following table may help you distinguish between purple and white garlic in detail:
|Neck Size & stiffness
|long and hard
|No. of Cloves
|Very few (4-5)
|Too many (10-30)
|Thick, easy to peel off
|Thin, difficult to peel off
|No such content
2. Purple Garlic Is Highly Nutritious
Garlic is a rich source of minerals and other nutrients.
The table below shows the nutrients, their quantity per unit and the percentage of the daily requirement.
|%age of Daily Requirement
3. Italian Purple Garlic Is The Best Type
The average size of Italian purple garlic is larger, that is, having a 2.5cm radius approx., rounded in shape, with a thick central scape, having 8-10 cloves of cream color.
The outer layers have streaks of purple color that are not uniform.
They are very spicy but have mild sweetness too. It’s harvested in the summer season.
The reason Italian purple garlic is famous is that it becomes ready to harvest much earlier than soft-neck garlic.
Additionally, unlike other purple garlic that has a lower shelf life, it has a longer shelf life.
The Italian purple garlic is not very strong in terms of taste. In fact, the flavor and odor are between the strongest and weakest garlic.
4. Purple Garlic Sold in the US Comes From Mexico
Most of the purple garlic sold in Texas comes from San Jose de Magdalena, Mexico, and is available from mid-March till early June. As usual, it has fewer cloves in a bigger bulb.
Its stronger taste owes to the higher amount of Allicin compound in it.
The reason we don’t see it often in the produce section of our grocery markets is that it has a smaller shelf life. So, they aren’t a desirable choice for retailers.
However, in Houston, Dallas, and South Texas, there are dedicated markets where purple garlic can easily be found.
5. Purple Garlic Can Be Best Used in the Following Ways
Purple garlic or red-purple garlic is used in cooking as well as consumed raw.
Chopping or crushing the garlic is way better than consuming it by just peeling off the skin.
Why is crushing better?
Because, as soon the clove is cut or crushed, it’s exposed to the oxygen in the air, and as a result, sulfur compounds are released.
That’s why it’s often recommended by chefs to leave the garlic for a while after crushing before putting into use.
Purple garlic can be used as conventional garlic as usual for sautéing, baking, or cooking.
6. Purple Garlic Can be Easily Grown At Home
The best time to grow garlic is in November and December before the first frost. Because in that case, cloves have time to sprout and make roots.
Purple garlic seeds are the cloves themselves, and there is no special method to plant purple garlic in the pot or garden.
It’s recommended to always wear garden safety gloves before messing with the soil.
So, simply speaking, remove the outer skin of the garlic that covers the entire bulb and separate the cloves.
You need not peel off the cloves’ skin. Choose a few large cloves and plant 2 inches deep with a 5-6 inches gap from each other using the spiral driller.
Keep it moist, because this is what it needs to grow better and fast.
Finally, the right time to harvest is when the lower leaves begin to dry, dig it out, brush off the soil and let it dry for two weeks, and then store.
Purple Garlic Plant & Wild Garlic Purple Flower Looks Elegant
7. Purple Garlic Recipe: Roasted Chicken with Purple Garlic
Several recipes involve purple garlic as the main ingredient, the famous among which is Roasted Chicken with Purple Garlic. So, let’s learn how to make this.
Course: Main course
Time Required: 15 min.
Cook time: 1 ½ hour
Serving: 6-8 persons
1 whole chicken with giblets removed
5 whole bulbs of purple garlic (Don’t slice or crush the garlic)
2 lemon sliced in wedges
1 bunch of fresh marjoram (marjoram substitutes like thyme is also preferred)
3 tbs Olive oil
1 tsp Salt and ½ tsp black pepper
A few tbs of butter for basting
Set the oven heat to 430°F.
Slice off the tip of each garlic bulb from both ends. Also, don’t throw the loose ends, they’ll be used later.
Now place these garlic bulbs upside down in a bigger pan evenly and brush their exposed tops with oil.
Defrost at least 2 hours if the chicken is frozen, or use some defrosting tray that can thaw it in a shorter time.
Stuff the hollow part of the chicken with the loose garlic tips chopped off earlier, plus lemon wedges of 1 lemon. Bind the chicken legs to prevent falling of any of the stuffed ingredients.
Brush the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle salt plus black pepper on the chicken. Now place the chicken on the top of the garlic in the pan.
Place the pan in the oven and roast it for 20-40 minutes depending upon the size of the chicken. Keep basting the chicken every 10 minutes or when you see the chicken dry.
Check by cutting between the leg and the wing. If the juices start to run here as well, the chicken is ready.
The word purple in the garlic means it’s rich in anthocyanin, that’s a powerful anti-oxidant. So, when we say purple garlic, it means it has much more anti-oxidants than white garlic.
Do you prefer purple garlic in your dishes? If yes, why? Share your views about this variety of garlic in the comments section below.