Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Mystery Garlic Cloves

What, exactly, are these?

picture photograph image ALT 2008 copyright of sam breach http://becksposhnosh.blogspot.com/
I was no sooner off the plane in Portugal, after 20+ hours of travelling, when I found myself begging my mother and sister, to let me accompany them to the local supermarket [Modelo] instead of taking the catnap they suggested I needed.

I was a little spaced out, what with the jet-lag and all, but something unusual caught my eye and I dropped it in the trolley for further investigation. I thought I had discovered some kind of interesting garlic type indigenous to Portugal, but when we arrived back at the villa and I studied the carton more carefully, I realised (if my translation abilities are to be trusted), that these little weirdos had come all the way from China.

Uh-oh, I hope they aren't genetically modified or something unnatural like that?

I used these orbical self-contained garlic cloves to flavour salad dressings and marinade meats over the next few days, finding the results to be much the same as a regular garlic clove for the main part. Except, they are a little easier to peel and they look kind of cute...

QUESTION OF THE DAY graphic copyright sam breach
?Have you ever seen such a thing? Perhaps they are common-place in your neck of the woods? If you know anything more about them, please can you share?

2007 | Lettuce & Lovage Soup
2006 | Thank Goodness for the French
2005 | End of the Month Eggs on Toast

© 2008 Sam Breach
Mystery Garlic Cloves


  • At 1/7/08 04:20, Anonymous Deborah said…

    Sam, if I'm not mistaken, I think it might just be a different variety of garlic called "purple stripe." You see them at markets here in Ireland during the summer, often undried. They have a more subtle taste than the usual variety.

  • At 1/7/08 05:09, Blogger Anne said…

    They're pretty common here, sold as King Solo or Jumbo Garlic. I like them - they're a little bit milder than normal garlic.

  • At 1/7/08 06:22, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It looks like the same kind that Trader Joe's sells as "one-clove garlic" - supposedly it's great for roasting, since you don't have to separate them out afterwards!

    Trader Joe's Pantry: One-Clove Garlic

  • At 1/7/08 06:48, Blogger Sam said…

    Thanks for all the pointers. Duh - they even sell them here in the US in Trader Joes. So guess who has just successfully proved she really does only buy all her veggies at the farmers' market...?

  • At 1/7/08 09:08, Blogger Anne said…

    I've seen them, but rarely. I don't have a Trader Joe's nearby so I'm totally missing that boat.

    They are very pretty, though!

  • At 1/7/08 10:03, Blogger Sumeeta said…


    I've seen them in New Orleans and in Sussex, England. They are quite pretty to look at and quite good to eat as well.

  • At 1/7/08 10:17, Anonymous Vanessa said…

    you definetly are not alone- I was also stunned you'd know they are from China- how did you figure that out?

  • At 1/7/08 10:28, Blogger Sam said…

    It said on the label something like "origen Chinos" as I recall.
    I meant to take a photo of the packet but forgot. oops.

  • At 1/7/08 10:54, Anonymous Pim said…

    Single clove garlic, and yes, they are from China. I think they're from Yunnan province or something.

    In Thailand we use baby single clove garlic (Gratiem Tone) in a lot of dishes. We even pickle them. Yum.

  • At 1/7/08 12:35, Blogger rachel said…

    Ugh...I bought a cute little basket of these at a rare trip to Trader Joes in SF, only to discover that they were from China. Made me sad.

    TJs got complaints and they stopped carrying.

  • At 2/7/08 10:06, Blogger Sam said…

    thanks to everyone - Rachel - looks like you beat me to this post (I am so behind the times). And Pim - I am wondering if The Thai version are imported from China too?

    So I am guessing/wonedring - if they come rom a specific area of China, then perhaps they are not some scary modified vegetable as I had feared?

  • At 2/7/08 21:06, Blogger Jepoy said…

    hmm, that's not a garlic. That's a typical onion, a RED ONION! geeez! There's a lot here in Asia.

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  • At 3/7/08 06:36, Blogger Pepper said…

    Definitely common here in Sichuan, China, though the 'regular' garlic with cloves is readily available too.

  • At 3/7/08 15:12, Blogger ChrisB said…

    We made garlic butter with some after you left and used them in marinades and we voted them a success.

  • At 4/7/08 09:59, Blogger FaustianBargain said…

    trader joes stopped carrying chinese garlic. they will be slowly phasing out a lot of food items from china.

  • At 4/7/08 12:25, Blogger Beccy said…

    I loved how easy they were to peel, was just peeling the 'normal' type and my fingers stink now!

  • At 4/7/08 14:04, Blogger Nick B said…

    When garlic is immature (wet Garlic) it hasnt formed distinct cloves and if this variety is a jumbo variety then you get a big solid one-clove thing. You can get the same effect with all garlic but they come out very small - I know I tried growing some last year and they were tiny..


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