Garlic flowers refer to the long, curly stalks that emerge from the garlic plant’s bulb in early summer. The stalks, which can grow up to three feet tall, produce small, bell-shaped white or pink flowers, which are edible and have a milder flavor than the garlic bulb. However, garlic farmers usually remove the flowers to focus the plant’s energy on producing a larger bulb.
We are sure that almost everyone thought about how their garlic grows. Besides the actual garlic plant, there also is the garlic flower, which is the flowering seed of the plant. These flowers still have the smell and taste of the garlic and can also be used. Read on to find out more information about:
How Do We Grow the Garlic Flower?
It is believed that garlic is native to central Asia. Its name comes from “gar-leac” or “gar-leek,” its Anglo-Saxon term for the garlic relative, the ancient leek. Garlic is not an actual herb nor a vegetable, but a flowering bulb, like a tulip and it reproduces through its bulbs.
There are two categories of garlic, softneck, and hardneck. Hardneck garlic produces flower stalks and has larger but fewer cloves with a very spicy flavor. Softneck garlic reproduces through its cloves, does not produce seeds, and stores longer.
Having garlic flowers is very easy. The only thing you need to do is allow the plant to develop longer than you would for harvesting a bulb. The garlic bulbs do not only keep the embryo but also keep the energy the plant needs to grow. Not many of us decide to let the garlic grow up to the flowering point, but it is an amazing experience to see its flowers. Farmers do not allow the flowers to develop as they want to maintain bigger bulbs for commercial use.
The garlic seed should be planted in fall for obtaining a hardneck bulb and in spring for softneck bulb. If you don’t want the plant to flower, you just need to remove its scapes and use them in the kitchen for salads, soups, sauces, and many other types. But if you chose not to remove the scapes, the plant uses all of its energy to produce flowers. At this point, the bulbs can still be harvested but they are likely to be small and have a light flavor. To obtain a larger bulb, the scapes should be removed before the buds burst open.
Some of the best varieties for harvesting flowers and seeds are Bai Pai Suan, Brown Rose, Chimyon, Darcheli, Duganskij, Krasnodar White, Mexican Red, Rosewood, Shvelisi, Tien Shan and Verchnjaja Mcara(or Red Czar).
Facts About the Garlic Flower
The garlic flower is also edible, ideal when it just begins to bloom. The flower buds get hard as the seeds develop and even though they’re edible, the texture is far from delicious. If you want to consume them, they should be well washed, as they are small and tiny insects and dust hide beneath them.
The garlic flower can also be dried, to preserve it longer. The flower should be allowed to develop until right before its seeds begin to mature. Then, you have to cut the stems next to the base and wrap its ends. The flowers should be hung upside down from a stick or bar in a dry, warm and shady place, avoiding direct sunlight. After about a month, the garlic flower is fully dried and ready to use.
If you’ve wondered, yes, you can harvest both garlic flowers and cloves. But growing both means that the plant’s energy get divided. Its cloves cannot grow to be that large. To be sure the plant can do both flowers and cloves, it needs the optimal conditions. Be very careful with preparing the soil before planting, as the plant relies on it. For optimal nutrition, you can also choose extra fertilizer and always make sure the plants are not dried out.
Garlic flower is usually purple, just like lavender, but others can be white or light pink.
How Can We Use Garlic Flowers?
Garlic flowers can be used both raw and cooked. it can be sauteed, roasted, grilled and even boiled. It can be added to salads, soups, meat meals and put on top when finishing an omelet. You can also make a nice sauce for your pizza. They’re also ideal for mashed potatoes or rice dishes.
Garlic flower, just like a garlic bulb, has strong anti-microbial and antioxidant properties, ideal for maintaining a healthy immune system. There are some people who choose to take one clove of garlic a day just like a pill!
It can be used directly after being picked to its powerful flavor. Just add it to butter, mayonnaise, soy, seafood, tomatoes, omelets, next to fresh herbs like basic or oregano. You can store it up to one week in the fridge but try to use it before the flower starts to wilt.
After learning about how to harvest and grow a garlic flower, you can definitely grow yourself one. It’s not that hard and you can be sure that it’s 100% ecological, without containing any harmful ingredients. The homemade garlic has a more powerful taste and can be used in so many ways.
You can easily grow both flowers and cloves and decide which one you like more so that in the future you can focus on obtaining only one of them. It’s not hard to grow your own garlic plant but you need to be willing to invest some time and passion in this, as nothing works without a little bit of love.
All in all, whether you want to have garlic flowers, cloves or both, you can opt for either. There are so many types of garlic from which you can choose and you can easily grow the garlic plant to suit your needs, whether it is about aesthetics or a delicious ingredient.