Hardneck garlic are known for their superior flavor and large, easy to peel cloves. They are very cold hearty and can survive winter temperatures well below zero. Hardneck garlic varieties are characterized by the woody stem and the garlic scape that they send up in June. When the scape is cut young, it has a wonderfully mild garlic flavor.
Hardneck horticulture groups: Asiatic, Rocambole, Porcelain, Purple Stripe, Marbled Purple Stripe and Glazed Purple Stripe. Turban, Creole.
Hardneck garlic typically have a shorter storage life than soft neck, with an average storage life of 4-8 months.
Rocambole are the most widely known and grown of all the hardneck garlic varieties. They have a rich, full-bodied flavor and are less sulfurous than other garlic groups. They have large easy to peel cloves, which make them great in the kitchen, however, the loose clove skins attribute to a shorter storage life, averaging only 4-5 months. 8-12 Cloves per head, 45-60 cloves per pound. Mid-Late Harvest.
- Chamisal Wild
- Killarney Red
- Purple Haze
- Penasco Blue
Porcelain varieties are named for their satiny white bulb wrappers. Sometimes the wrappers can display hints of pink or tan. They average 4-6 huge cloves and are sometimes mistaken for elephant garlic. They can have a wide range of flavors from sweet and mild to very hot and sulfurous. Porcelain varieties have the highest content of allium which helps lower cholesterol, boost the immune system and increase circulation. Porcelain garlic varieties do not like weed competition so keep the beds weed free. Scapes should be removed for optimum bulb development, which will help clove wrappers tighten, contributing to longer storage, up to 5-6 months. 25-40 cloves per pound, mid-season harvest. Very productive and adaptable in colder, Northern climates.
- Romanian Red
Standard Purple Stripe
All garlic species originated with the Purple Stripe group., which are generally closely related to wild garlic. Their bulb and clove wrapper are beautifully streaked with purple. Often voted “best baked garlic”, the flavor can be complex with a rich garlic taste without the sulfurous. Purple Stripe stores slightly longer than Rocambole, 6-7 months. Tight clove wrappers will loosen in storage making them the ideal early winter garlic, just after you have used all of your Rocamboles. 50-65 cloves per pound. Mid-Late harvest.
- Chesnok Red
- Skuri #2
Marbled Purple Stripe
Named for their marbled outer wrappers, the coloring of the marbled purple stripe tends to be modeled rather than striped. This garlic is absolutely beautiful, with colors ranging from pale pink to deep purple. 5-7 huge juicy cloves per bulb makes it a dream in the kitchen. The flavor is somewhere between Rocambole and Purple Stripe. Very easy to grow and adapts easily to a wide range of sails. Tends to prefer colder Northern climates. 50-60 cloves per pound. Late harvest. 6-7 months storage.
- Estonian Red
Glazed Purple Stripe
Glazed Purple Stripe are true beauties. Outer wrappers are a pale mauve with faint stripes, clove wrappers are a darker pink tinged with a subtle, shiny hint of gold. Flavor is superb when sautéed and holds up well to cooking. Very cold tolerant, glazed purple stripes have fewer cloves than standard purple stripes, but they do not store as long. 50-60 cloves per pound. 5-month storage. Early harvest.
- Red Rezan
Creole are a weakly bolting hardback. Prized for its exceptional flavor and long storage life. Creole thrive in Southern climates and can be challenging to grow in the North. Northern growers often don’t see bulbs larger than 2 inches. Be patient and stick with them and you will be rewarded. Outer wrappers tent to be blushed white and pale purple inner cloves are a vivid and brilliant purple. Cloves can be small but the sweet flavor more than makes up for the clove size. 7-10 cloves per bulb. 70-75 cloves per pound. 9-10 months storage.
- Rose de Lautrec (Lautrec Pink)
- Aglio Rosso
Turban are always the first garlic to be harvested, sometimes two weeks earlier than other varieties. They are a weakly bolting variety that usually attains good bulb size even thought the plans tend to be small and weak looking. Outer wrappers have purple pin-stripes and cloves are plump and juicy. Turbans do not benefit from scape removal. 5-9 cloves per head. 45-65 cloves per pound. Very early harvest. Short storage 3-4 months.
Asiatic is a weakly bolting garlic that matures very quickly and early. Asiatics don’t benefit from scape removal. Bulbs tend to be purple striped and cloves are large and firm. The flavor is less refined than other hardneck varieties, with a nutty zesty flavor. Very productive and adaptable. 5-9 cloves. 100 per pound. 5-6 months storage.
Softneck garlic is characterized by a soft central stem making them ideal for braiding. Soft necks are easy to grow and adapt well to a variety of soil types and climates. If stored properly, soft neck garlic can last up to 10-12 months.
Artichoke garlic is the most recognizable garlic variety grown and they are often the garlic found in supermarkets. Artichokes are named for their configuration of several overlapping layers of cloves, similar to a true artichoke. They are very easy to grow and thrive in a variety of different climates. Artichokes can produce very large heads sometimes more than three inches across. They have a moderately complex and mild flavor. 12-15 cloves per bulb. 65-80 cloves per pound. 8-10 months storage. Early harvest, after Turbans. Color can be white, purple pink. A great garlic for braiding.
- Kettle River Giant
- Island Star
Silver skin garlic is the highest yielding variety and it performs well in all climates. They can have up to 3 clove layers with as many as 12-20 cloves per head. The flavor can be hot and sulfurous, not one for eating raw. With proper storage, Silver Skins can last a year and still be fresh. Always the last garlic to be harvested. Great for braiding. 70-80 cloves per pound. Very late harvest. 10-12 month storage.
- Mother of Pearl