Christopher Ranch’s California Garlic Blog

It’s no mystery that fresh garlic is one of the most popular, versatile ingredients ever. What remains relatively unknown, however, are the distinct flavor, quality and health differences associated with varying garlic varieties. Christopher Ranch, a family farm in Gilroy, Calif., grows a California heirloom garlic that is a leader in each category. All Garlic Is Not Created Equal. We’ll show you why.

GREEN GARLIC INSPIRES FLAVOR ENVY


Garlicia here. Call me the Countess of Cloves or just another garlic lover, but I’m no fly by night when it comes to putting the bite on your queries and concerns about all things garlic. With a vault of information and piquant sense of the flavorful, I’ll be sharing my thoughts, ideas, recipes and passion for garlic with you. That said, let’s reek and roll!

Tastier than bunching onions, more fragrant than scallions, able to leap tall buildings…, oops, went too far, but seriously, our new Green Garlic is a super food with a flavorful edge over those other greens.  What is green garlic? Simply stated, it’s young garlic that is harvested before the bulbs have begun to mature. Also known as baby or “spring” garlic, it resembles onions and scallions with its small white bulb flowing upward into vibrant green stems, but the unmistakable albeit subtle fragrance of garlic and a mildly garlicky taste make it the envy of  those other greens.

Christopher Ranch, no stranger to innovative garlic products (see our peeled, chopped, roasted garlic,) has committed considerable acreage and resources to bring Green Garlic to consumers seeking a fresh and nutritious new way to punch up their cooking. Weekly harvests will begin in April, but instead of the usually short season of this sometimes hard-to-find specialty, Christopher Ranch will continue growing and harvesting until October, enough time for cooks to try out, create with and, ultimately, get hooked on this new youngling. Christopher Ranch Green Garlic in 3 oz. packages is scheduled to hit supermarkets in late April, so look for it – or ask for it – at your local store.

Green Garlic is perfect for dishes that call for a calm garlic flavor or for the garlic lover who finds regular garlic too strong. It can be used raw or cooked, and the whole plant, after trimming the roots, is edible. Use liberally in any kind of salad (garden, egg, potato, mac, tuna, you get the picture…), vegetables, pasta or stir-fry dishes, beans, casseroles, sandwich fillings, salsas and dips. The “sprinkle” factor of green garlic is through the roof: try on salads, pizza, mashed potatoes, soups, stews, tacos, falafel (what is the plural of falafel — falafels or the perfectly descriptive falafelot, which is how I like them), antipasto, rice, even popcorn and _____ (add your favorite here).

I was introduced to Green Garlic several years ago by Gilroy Garlic Festival head chef, the late, great Val Filice. He occasionally showed up at the Ranch to treat us to his flights of hometown culinary genius whenever he had the time. One such morning Val brought his outdoor “kitchen” to the Ranch and set it up in one of the garlic packing sheds. It consisted of a propane stove and the biggest skillet (think satellite dish, circa 1985) I had ever seen. He recruited one of the field staff to pull a few young garlic plants from one of our fields and when they arrived, he proceeded to chop the plants into thick slices while melting a stick of butter in the pan. I had never seen anyone use young garlic before and was salivating in anticipation of what was brewing. Val threw the slices in the pan and sautéed them gently while he whisked up an entire flat of eggs adding a dash of the milk that he had brought for his morning coffee and some salt and pepper. At just the right moment he poured the eggs in the pan making that familiar “chshshssss” sound they’re supposed to make when they hit the heat and proceeded to make the best scrambled eggs I had ever tasted – rich creamy eggs with a gently sublime taste of fresh garlic. We had a bottle of Christopher Ranch Garlic Salsa (yes, the Ranch used to make salsa) to top the eggs, but at that moment I wanted to savor the scramble in its pure state the way nature intended. My flavor memory is just shy of a drool right now and I’m anxiously awaiting our first Green Garlic harvest so I can make my feeble attempt at recreating Val’s inimitable scrambled eggs and green garlic. Ooooh, I can taste it… garlicious!

GARLICIA’S ATTEMPT AT
SUBLIME SCRAMBLED EGGS

6          Christopher Ranch Green Garlic stems
4          eggs
1          tbls. butter
3          tbls. milk (suggest 2%)
½         tsp. salt

Trim roots and wash stems in cold water, pat dry with paper towel. Slice stems into half inch pieces. Melt butter over medium heat in frying pan until bubbly. Add garlic and sauté until limp, (don’t burn) about 1 to 2 minutes. Blend eggs with milk and salt and whisk vigorously for about 2 minutes; add to hot pan with green garlic. Let eggs set for a few seconds before scrambling. Cook to desired consistency; add salt and pepper to taste. Serves 2. Beyond sublime: serve with cappuccino, toasted ciabatta slices and fresh fruit.

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