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Asian Tempest Garlic
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Asian Tempest garlic bulbs are small, averaging 5 centimeters in diameter and produce between 5-7 cloves that are circularly configured around a central scape. The bulb wrappers are firm and tight, streaked with white and purple. The crescent-shaped cloves are large and deep violet. Asian Tempest garlic is intensely hot with a spiciness that lingers. When cooked, the hotness of the Asian Tempest garlic will fade into a sweet and tangy flavor similar to a sweet pepper.
Asian Tempest garlic is available spring through fall.
Asian Tempest garlic, botanically classified as Allium sativum var. ophioscorodon, is a fiery hardneck variety. Also known as Seoul Sister, Asian Tempest garlic is the most popular Asiatic cultivar, which is a weakly bolting hardneck, or garlic that may not have a stalk or the stalk is less woody than usual. The Asian Tempest garlic is a vigorous grower and is usually the first planted in the fall and the first to be harvested in the spring.
Asian Tempest garlic is an excellent source of vitamin B6, vitamin C, and manganese. It also contains copper, selenium, iron, and calcium.
Asian Tempest is a very hot variety and should be used sparingly when raw. When cooked, Asian Tempest garlic will offer a sweet, creamy flavor. It is well suited for cooked applications such as baking or roasting. Add chopped Asian Tempest garlic to lasagna or mushrooms for added flavor. Its sweet and spicy flavor also complements chicken, pork, stir-fries, and marinades. Asian Tempest garlic can be used in any recipe that calls for garlic if heat and sweet characteristics are desired. It pairs well with basil, onions, leeks, broccoli, carrots, and mushrooms. Asian Tempest garlic will keep up to 6 months when stored fresh and unpeeled in a cool, dark place away from sunlight and heat.
Asiatic garlic is not well known in the United States and became a new sub-variety in 2003. Garlic genetic testing studies were done by Dr. Gaiuk Volk in Colorado and Dr. Joachim Keller in Germany, and ten sub-varietal groups of garlic were created depending on storage time, pungency, color, shape, and taste. Asian Tempest garlic is a part of the Asiatic garlic subgroup and is known for its intense flavor and vigorous bulbs that mature quickly. Often referred to as gourmet garlic, Asian Tempest garlic has grown slowly in popularity in home gardens and restaurants in the United States for its heat and sweet flavors when cooked.
Asian Tempest garlic is native to South Korea and was first commercially produced in the United States by Sweetwater Farm owner, Horace Shaw. Shaw and his wife, both garlic enthusiasts, and acquaintances of well-known garlic grower John Swenson stumbled upon a farm selling garlic near their Adams, Oregon home in the early 1980s. The farmer was a veteran of the Korean war, and he and his Korean wife had brought the Asian Tempest garlic back with them to America. Today, Asian Tempest garlic is available at specialty grocers and farmers markets in the United States and Asia.