The True Flavour of Garlic

The first time I paid a visit to Missing Goat Farm, was on a research trip for my article on their heavenly Blueberry Lavender Jam (click here to read the article). It is an organic blueberry farm located in South Surrey (British Columbia), and all of their products are made with fruit grown on their land. Everything is free of artificial preservatives and additives, and owner Heather Cameron and her husband are in the middle of ‘officially’ becoming a fully certified organic operation.

Missing Goat Farm serves up wonderful jams, chutneys, homemade granola and fresh fruit pies. But this past year Heather also started selling garlic. Just as I was leaving, she presented me with some of her few remaining bulbs of garlic.

“Have you ever tried organic garlic,” she asked.

“Oh I’m sure I have at some point or another,” I answered casually.

“No – I mean have you ever really tried organic garlic.”

Struck by the earnestness in her voice, I looked closer at the garlic in my hands. They had the same papery outside as regular commercial varieties, but upon closer examination I noticed that the cloves themselves were much larger in size and had a glorious dark purple tint. Heather informed me that these particular bulbs were a Red Russian variety. And then she proceeded to present me with a culinary challenge.

“Go home, roast this garlic along with a bulb of regular commercial garlic, do a taste comparison and if you think there’s a difference write a post for your blog.”

And that’s exactly what I did.

I carefully sliced a small portion off of the tops of both bulbs of garlic, drizzled some extra virgin olive oil over each, sprinkled some salt and pepper on top and wrapped them in foil. I roasted the garlic in a 350F degree oven for an hour and let them cool before serving with bread and cheese.

Visually there was quite a bit of difference between the two bulbs of garlic: Heather’s organic variety loomed over the smaller commercial type, and the beautiful colour streaked across the cloves of the Red Russian was much more exciting than the rather dull looking cloves of the commercial variety. And in terms of taste? There was no comparison to the full, intense flavour of the organic garlic. I felt like I was trying garlic for the first time! The store-bought variety tasted flat, like a poor carbon copy of how garlic should taste. How will I ever go back to eating regular garlic? I don’t know if I will be able to do that now that my senses have been spoilt by the amazing flavour of organic garlic.

Heather – there was a difference. You were right. Here’s that blog post I owe you.

Garlic is in season right now, so take advantage and stock up on some good quality product. If stored properly (i.e. NOT in your fridge) garlic can last for months. Make sure the garlic you purchase is not discoloured or falling apart, as both are indicators that it is no longer fresh.