General Information: The garlic made its way to Europe during the Middle Ages from its origin of Central Asia. Garlic is a hot weather plant, and it produces harsher characteristics the further north it is grown. During the Spring, fresh garlic (green garlic) is easily obtainable in Swiss markets. It is garlic before the cloves fully develop, and it has a much softer flavor, similar to chives or leeks.

Season: Fresh garlic (green garlic) is available from March through April. Look for French, Spain or Italian varieties. Mature Italian garlic, which has a slightly mauve-colored skin and a milder flavor, is available between June and September. Mature Swiss garlic is available from July through October.

Purchasing Tips: Fresh garlic should not appear dry. The stem should be green and yielding when pinched. Mature garlic should be firm, with plump bulbs and dry skins. Avoid garlic with soft heads, shriveled cloves. Over ripe garlic will have a green sprout in the clove, which has a harsh flavor. Sprouts should always be removed.

Storage: Keep cool and dark inside an open container. Unbroken, garlic heads will keep for 4-6 weeks. Once broken, the garlic will keep fresh for 3-10 days. Keep green garlic refrigerated.

Cooking Tips: Garlic can be consumed raw, sautéed, roasted or boiled. Green garlic can be sliced and stewed in butter over mild heat. Garlic will turn acrid and bitter within 15 minutes, thus it is always best to chop or slice it shortly before using.

Nutritional Info: Garlic is excellent for use against high blood pressure.

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