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Applegate garlic has large, even-sized cloves, numbering around 12 to 18 per bulb. Each clove has a tightly-wrapped, purple-hued, papery covering. They are arranged in multiple layers around a central clove. The heirloom garlic has a mild, yet rich and robust flavor without the hot garlicky finish of some garlics.
Applegate garlic is available year-round.
Applegate garlic is an heirloom, softneck variety of Allium sativum. It is an artichoke-type garlic, which is one of the most common, commercially grown types of garlic because of their larger size and easy to grow. Artichoke-type garlics get their name for their appearance, which resemble the multiple layered leaves of an artichoke. Applegate garlic is an early-season variety, and is typically available earlier than most cultivars.
Garlic has been used for its nutritional and medicinal benefits for centuries. It is an excellent source of sulfuric compounds (giving garlic its spicy bite), and vitamins A, B and C. Garlic contains essential amino acids and minerals like calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, copper and magnesium. Garlic has been used to help alleviate cold symptoms, digestive troubles and as an anti-inflammatory.
Applegate garlic is ideal for raw applications such as pesto or other raw sauces, and is well-suited for roasted garlic. When cooked, it offers a very delicate flavor. Used raw, it is mild enough to be added to tuna or chicken salads, or chutneys. The tightly wrapped cloves help ensure a longer storage time for Applegate garlic. Bulbs can be stored in a cool, dry place for up to 8 months. Keep unwrapped or cut garlic in the refrigerator for up to five days.
Today there are hundreds of known garlic cultivars, though the world wasn’t really aware of them until after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989. The “center of origin” for garlic is believed to be an area in Central Asia that is now modern-day Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan. The Caucasus Mountains, bordering the countries of Georgia and Russia are considered a secondary area of origin, as is the Tianshan Mountain range to the east, from Kyrgyzstan into northern China. Before 1989, garlic came to the United States via European immigrants. The true origin of garlic was unknown to botanists and scientists, until the United States Department of Agriculture was able to send a team into Central Asia to study the wild species found in the area. It wasn’t until after this time that garlic was officially considered a domesticated crop. Though garlic has been cultivated for thousands of years, it wasn’t considered ‘domesticated’ until scientists could establish a process of selective breeding from wild specimens.
Applegate garlic is an artichoke-type, which grows best in areas where the winters are mild or warm. In these environments, the bulbs will grow large and plump, whereas in cooler, northern climates the bulbs won’t grow as large. The heirloom variety is considered a dynamic accumulator by permaculturalists, meaning it helps draw nutrients from the soil, redistributing them in top soil through discarded scapes or leaves. Garlic absorbs nutrients like potassium, calcium, sulfur, manganese and sodium from the deeper layers of soil, retaining much of the nutrient content and passing that along to the consumer. Applegate garlic is most often found through small farms at local farmer’s markets in warmer climates.