Asian Tempest Garlic
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Asian Tempest garlic is a weakly bolting hardneck variety that will occasionally develop a scape or ‘chive’. The bulbs are just over 5 centimeters in diameter and just about the same in height. The boldly colored cloves are smaller than typical garlic cloves. They are wrapped in a thin, papery coverings that are golden-hued and purple streaked. Asian Tempest garlic is intensely hot, with a spiciness that lingers. Cooking Asian Tempest garlic will bring out the sweetness in the cloves.
Asian Tempest garlic is available in the spring through the fall.
Asian Tempest garlic is a fiery heirloom variety of Allium sativum, with the hard-neck subvariety designation of ophioscorodon. Asian Tempest garlic is an Asiatic variety, which is really a subvariety of artichoke garlic (which is technically a soft-neck variety). 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. All garlic requires a 4 to 6 week curing process, to dry out the bulbs.
Asian Tempest garlic, like all varieties of garlic, is a nutrient powerhouse. A full serving of garlic (around 2 cloves) will provide nearly 100% of your required daily allowance for vitamin B6, almost 75% of your manganese needs, and just over 50% of your vitamin C requirement. Garlic is also an excellent source of copper, selenium, iron and calcium. Garlic contains sulfuric compounds, which once the garlic cloves are crushed or chopped, convert to a volatile compound called allicin. Research has demonstrated that allicin has antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. It has also been found to inhibit a certain enzyme in the liver, thus reducing cholesterol production. The purple streaks on the garlic cloves demonstrates the presence of the phytonutrient anthocyanin, which offers antioxidant benefits.
Asian Tempest garlic is a very hot variety of garlic, so a little goes a long way if using in its raw state. When cooked, Asian Tempest garlic will offer a sweet, robust flavor. Add chopped Asian Tempest garlic towards the end of the cooking process to prevent the heat from altering the flavor and the nutritional profile. Asian Tempest garlic can be used in any recipe that calls for garlic. Store fresh, unpeeled garlic uncovered in a cool, dark place away from sunlight and heat. In these conditions, it will keep for up to a month. Peeled garlic can be refrigerated for up to a week, or frozen for up to three months.
Garlic has been used for both culinary and medicinal purposes for thousands of years. Its origins can be traced to the area that is now Kyrgystan, Tajikistand, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Scientists have decided on this area as the “center of origin” because it is the only place where wild garlic still grows prolifically. Despite its distant origins, nearly 90% of the garlic consumed in the United States is grown in California.
Asian Tempest garlic is native to South Korea, and was first brought to the United States by a man named 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. The farmer was a veteran of the Korean war; he and his Korean wife had brought the Asian Tempest garlic back with them to America.