Onions, garlic, leeks and chives belong to a large group of plants known as Alliums.
These plants are commonly grown for their bulbs or underground stems, which are used to add flavor to foods.
The elephant garlic with its large, elongated bulbs also belongs to this group of plants, and it shares some of their characteristics as well.
You’d probably assume that these large sized alliums are just a larger sized variety of the regular garlic, but they are not.
Apart from its size, the elephant garlic has features that distinguishes it from regular garlic.
In this post, we’ll discuss the features that make elephant garlic different from regular garlic.
What is elephant garlic?
Botanically classified as Allium ampeloprasum var. ampeloprasum, elephant garlic is a plant that belongs to the onion family.
Despite its name, it’s not a true garlic but a variant of the leek species.
It is known for its large bulbs and mild flavor.
Compared to regular garlic, elephant garlic has a sweeter taste and is less pungent, making it suitable for raw consumption as well.
However, it may also not be a suitable substitute in recipes that rely on the strong flavor of true garlic.
The elephant garlic’s large cloves are also fewer in number compared to that of regular garlic, typically ranging from 4 to 7 cloves per bulb.
Elephant garlic can be used in various preparations including salads.
The botanical name for garlic is Allium sativum.
Garlic is a bulbous plant with a distinctive appearance. It consists of multiple cloves typically arranged in a circular pattern within the bulb enclosed in a papery skin.
The size and number of cloves can vary, with some bulbs having up to 20 or more cloves.
It is known for its pungent aroma and strong flavor, which becomes more intense when it is crushed or minced.
Garlic is versatile, and it can be used as an ingredient in various cuisines worldwide. It is often used to enhance the flavor of dishes, either raw or cooked.
It can also be roasted, sautéed, or used to make preparations like garlic confit.
Garlic is also known for its potential health benefits, including its antioxidant properties.
Difference between elephant garlic and regular garlic
Elephant garlic resembles traditional garlic but has some notable differences.
Elephant garlic bulbs are generally larger than regular garlic bulbs, they are often about 2 to 3 times the size of common garlic.
The size of elephant garlic can be compared to that of an onion.
Elephant garlic has a milder and sweeter flavor compared to regular garlic.
It lacks the pungency and intensity commonly associated with traditional garlic.
While both are used in various recipes, elephant garlic is preferred in recipes where a subtle garlic taste is desired.
Elephant garlic has larger and fewer cloves compared to garlic. There are about 7 cloves per elephant garlic while traditional garlic can have up to 20 cloves.
The skin of elephant garlic is thicker compared to that of regular garlic.
It is also easier to peel due to its larger size, while regular garlic cloves have thinner, papery skin that can be a bit more delicate to handle.