Red Sulmona Garlic
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Red Sulmona garlic is a large softneck variety that produces big, thick cloves. The outer wrappers of the Red Sulmona garlic look like any other variety. Beneath the white sheath, the large cloves are housed in tight, burgundy wrappers and are arranged around a central flower stalk. Red Sulmona garlic has a mild, sweet flavor unique to the variety, though its mildness can still be considered pungent. One clove can offer enough garlic flavor for one dish.
Red Sulmona garlic is available year-round.
Red Sulmona garlic, or Aglio Rosso di Sulmona, is an Italian heirloom variety. It is a creole type of garlic, scientifically classified as Allium sativum. The variety was named for the small city in the Abruzzo region in eastern Italy where it is grown. In this area of Italy, Aglio Rosso, or Red Sulmona garlic is thought to be the best garlic in the world. It is one of the only softneck varieties to produce a flower stalk, or scape. Local growers braid the long, dried stalks together, which is a traditional way of storing the bulbs. They are often formed using 52 bulbs, one for each week of the year, a testament to the long shelf-life of Red Sulmona garlic.
Red Sulmona garlic, like other creole types, is a good source of manganese and vitamin B6. It is also a source of vitamins C and B1, as well as minerals like copper, selenium, phosphorus, and calcium. The uniquely high allistatin concentrates in Red Sulmona garlic serves as an antibiotic and antifungal, and has been used medicinally for centuries in the Sulmona area of Abruzzo. Crushing the garlic releases the allinase enzymes. One holistic flu and cold remedy calls for two unpeeled cloves of Red Sulmona garlic, a bay leaf and several slices of lemon to be simmered in water and drunk before bedtime.
Red Sulmona garlic is traditionally used in spaghetti aglio and olio e pepperoncino, two dishes that are ubiquitous with Italy. Often, local Italians say that Red Sulmona garlic is the missing flavor when trying to recreate these dishes outside of Abruzzo. Use Red Sulmona garlic in any application that calls for garlic. Use one garlic clove per dish for a light garlic flavor. Store whole bulbs and unwrapped cloves at room temperature for several months. Cut garlic should be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.
In Italy, Red Sulmona garlic is not only famous for its strongly flavored cloves, it is also known for its tasty green garlic scapes. The flower stalks, or scapes, must be removed for the bulb to fully develop. Once harvested, the scapes are pickled in vinegar and then preserved in oil. The final product is known as “zolle” (or zolla) in Abruzzo and is served on cheese platters with crostini, or added to pizzas or sandwiches. They pair well with eggs and are often used in egg dishes.
Red Sulmona garlic is native to the Abruzzo region of Italy, located between Rome and the Adriatic Sea. The red-cloved garlic variety was named for the city of Sulmona, in the center of the Peligna Valley, set within the Apennine Mountains of central Italy. Red Sulmona garlic is cultivated by a dwindling number of growers who have had growing techniques passed down to them from generation to generation. Since the 1980s, production has decreased by over 2,000 quintals. Due to the uniqueness and rarity of the garlic outside of the Abruzzo region, the area was honored with a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) which helps with the promotion and conservation of the variety. Red Sulmona garlic can be found outside of the region, though the taste and size may be significantly different.
Recipes that include Red Sulmona Garlic. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Green Holiday Italy||Italy Traditions: Braiding Red Sulmona Garlic in Abruzzo|