The World of Garlic

27 varieties to try in your home kitchen

By Isabel Carter

Published on November 8, 2014

27 types of garlic.

There are two main types of garlic: softneck and hardneck. Softneck garlics, with their spongy central stalks, are further subcategorized. Artichokes, a subtype named for their layers of overlapping cloves, include (1) Monviso, whose big, juicy segments mellow beautifully in pasta dishes; sweet (2) Inchelium Red, which shines in mashed potatoes; (3) Transylvanian, a spicy Romanian garlic; and (4) Polish White and (5) Polish Red, whose rich-tasting cloves make a great confit.

Silverskins, with their satiny wrappers, include mild (6) Nootka Rose, whose moderate heat we like in fried rice; modestly acerbic (7) Mild French, which makes a lovely aïoli; and (8) Silver White, which delivers a blast of heat—a little goes a long way in dressings.

Creole garlics like (9) Ajo Morado were spread from Spain with the conquistadors. They bring a sharp bite to cold soups like ajo blanco.

Hardneck garlics have a woody central stalk. Rocamboles like (10) Spanish Roja and (11) German Red are among the most popular hardnecks; their easy-to-peel cloves make them a hit with chefs.

Porcelain garlics have the highest level of the enzyme allicin, and tend to be more pungent. They include (12) Music; (13) Northern White; (14) Romanian Red; (15) Yugoslavian, whose spicy purple-wrapped cloves yield a sweet aftertaste; and white-hot (16) Georgian Fire and (17) Georgian Crystal.

Purple-stripe garlics are easy to spot with their striking markings. (18) Metechi and (19) Bogatyr are the spiciest; (20) Pskem has a nutty scent; (21) Khabar has a knockout pungency; (22) Persian Star, from Uzbekistan, is milder; and pink-cloved (23) Siberian is more delicate. (24) Chesnok Red takes on a deep sweetness when roasted—it's great for garlic ice cream. (25) Korean Red, an Asiatic garlic, has a vivid flavor that sings in kimchi.

Turban garlics, named for the turban-shaped seed pods that form on the end of their scapes, include musky (26) Russian Tzan and bold-tasting (27) Thai Fire—our choice for stir-fries.

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