Recently (well, less recently than I’d like), a farmer friend of ours asked if we wouldn’t mind doing a taste test with seven of their garlic varieties, and also take some pictures.  Since both my husband and I love garlic, we readily agreed.

We were given seven brown paper bags labeled with the names of seven different garlic varieties: Duganski, German Extra Hardy, German Red, Inchelium Red, Kettle River Basin, Music, and Red Russian.


Differences that I can tell between varieties include: size of head and clove, evenness of cloves, color & thickness of skin, hard- or soft-neck, peeling ease, and spiciness.  Some of those differences are visual, others are not.

We decided we would take pictures first, and taste later.  The first pictures we took were of the whole heads of garlic.  Next I would take a clove (sometimes two) out of the head of garlic, and peel the clove.  One of the main things I care about when selecting garlic (if I have the choice) is how easy is it to peel.  The table below can walk you through the different characteristics.  My favorites would be Music and Inchelium Red for ease of peel.  Duganski was beautiful and mighty tasty, but not easy to peel.

Variety name Peeling ease Skin characteristics # of cloves, variability Spiciness Hard or softneck
Music Easy Pale purplish overtones, smooth skin 6, larger cloves, even sections Average to spicy Hardneck
Inchelium Red Easy Brown, yellowish skin 6 outer cloves, many inner cloves, wide variety in size Spicy Softneck
Red Russian Easy Brown/yellow veins 6 uniform larger cloves Spicy Hardneck
German Red Average White, wrinkly skin, no colored veins, thicker brown clove skin 8 cloves Average Hardneck
Duganski Difficult Pretty, smooth purple veined skin 8 cloves Smooth, warm heat Hardneck
German Extra Hardy Difficult to extract one clove from head Thick wrinkled skin with purple & brown veins 9 outer cloves, variable size Spicy Hardneck
Kettle River Basin What a pain Many thin layers make it difficult to peel 8 outer cloves, many small inner cloves Mild Softneck

Do you have a favorite garlic variety?  What characteristics do you look for when selecting a variety to plant or eat? 


2 responses to “Garlic!

  1. This is great – very helpful! I hope you don’t mind that I shared it on my Facebook page. (Cathy Bargar)

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