Thursday, October 30, 2014


Tonight I ate 14 cloves of garlic. It wasn't some kind of fad diet (though I'm sure garlic is good for me in some ways...just not sure which ones). No, I did it because this week I planted seven different varieties of garlic on my farm, and I was just bracing myself for the inevitable questions.

See, when you're a farmer people expect you to be the authority on the produce you grow, and that includes most prominently its taste and use. But a good palate isn't necessarily in the skill set for many farmers. At least, I know it's not for me. I like to eat vegetables with good stories--stories about where they were bred or how they were grown--and I like to cook them with ingredients with good stories too. I think I'm a decent home cook with somewhat high standards, but I'm still just a home cook. I'm not sure my sense of taste is always up to par.

Nonetheless, I know the questions will come. Next year, after I've mulched and fed and weeded and watered and harvested and cured and cleaned my lovely bulbs of garlic, I will be asked about the differences between them--the tastes and the uses--and I will have to come up with something intelligent to say. So tonight, I laid 'em all out there and I tasted.

First, I tasted a sliver of each one raw. I'm kind of a wuss when it comes to raw garlic, so mostly I just noted the ones that were the spiciest. (They were all spicy.)

Then I threw a clove of each, in numbered order, on a baking sheet and put them in the oven. I promptly forgot them there, as often happens when I cook, so after pulling out the carmelized (aka burned) cloves I put one more of each into the oven. This time I remember to take them out.

two of each kind: one baked, one burned
tasting notes
Mostly, I have to say, they tasted like garlic. But I did discern some differences, which I promise to share with you when you ask me sometime next fall!

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