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Types of Garlic: These are the Most Popular Garlic Varieties


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Garlic is by far one of the most beloved additions to any garden out there and that’s a fact. When it comes to its many different uses there is just no doubt about it, garlic is one of the best choices you could go for.

On top of that, garlic is also extremely easy to grow and it can really take a pounding from mother nature as it can easily live through the coldest or hottest of climates without a care in the world.

Versatility wise, garlic is also incredible as it is the main ingredient in a lot of different recipes out there, which is why it is so sought after by chefs all around the globe.

Garlic types
Jievani / pexels.com

So, in this article we decided to give you a quick rundown of every type of garlic there is out there and most importantly, what makes that special variety of garlic stand out from the crowd.

But before we get to that part how about we answer some questions that you may have regarding garlic and its many different uses. So, let’s just jump right into our first question of the day, aka:

Where Does Garlic Come From?

Where Does Garlic Come From
Nick Collins / pexels.com

Believe it or not but the idea of using garlic for seasoning is actually not all that new to begin with, it is believed to have originated from many millennia ago. It was actually one of the main ingredients used in traditional European and Asian medicine, and even back then they seasoned their meals with it.

It is believed that it was first discovered somewhere between Central Asia and Iran, although nobody knows for sure where it came from per se. What we do know however is that the wild garlic varieties that we can find here are all sterile, which is very interesting to say the least.

How Many Types of Garlic Are There?

How Many Types of Garlic Are There
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The interesting part about this is the fact that most people know that there are a ton of different garlic varieties out there, and yet the average person will only ever try one during their lifetime.

This is because for the most part, the market has been monopolized by a simple yet very effective garlic type that made it so that every other type out there would be obsolete.  If this one is so cheap to grow and resistant, why would they ever spend any extra money and time on growing a different type of garlic?

Well, it all depends on your preferences to be honest, and although the average joe may not be able to instantly pick apart the differences between the garlic types, let’s just say that there is more than enough of a difference between them to make it noticeable as long as you know where to look.

For the most part however, every garlic variety out there can be categorized in two different options, these being:

  • The Softneck Garlic
  • The Hardneck Garlic
Peeling Garlic
Mike Kenneally / unsplash.com

The first of these is the Softneck Garlic type, and this is the one that most of us have consumed at least once in our lifetime. This is the grocery store variety, the one that is sold to us in most any shops out there.

This is because they are a lot less delicate than the Hardneck Garlic and most importantly, it can be subjected to automated picking which can’t be said about the Hardneck Garlic type.

Taste wise, the Softneck Garlic features the mild flavor that we’ve come to expect from the grocery store garlic, and it is known to grow best in relatively warm USDA zones 5 and higher.

Hardneck garlic varieties on the other hand are a lot easier to break apart and they do have stronger flavors which is why they are not for everyone.

They are considered to be delicacies in a lot of cultures, but they are also avoided a lot by the typical buyer because they can be more expensive and harder to maintain because of how delicate they are.

Which Type of Garlic is the Best?

Which Type of Garlic is the Best
James Coleman / unsplash.com

Now that we know what the two main types are, how can we really tell which one is the best one for us? Honestly, there is only one way to do it and that is to try it out for yourself.

At the end of the day, we can sit here and talk about how one is more or less flavorful than the other, but that’s not what really matters in this discussion, the only thing that matters is that you personally preferred that one over any other and that’s all there is to it.

If you want a more in-depth look into which subtype is the best and which one is the worst then we’d need to be here all day because there are dozens of different varieties to choose from there.

So, for now we’ll just leave you with this: The best type of garlic is the one that you can get your hands on the easiest, the one that is the most affordable for you and the one that you love the flavor of the most.

With that said, it’s about time that we actually talked about the best varieties of garlic that there are out there, starting off with one of our personal favorites, aka:

Artichoke Garlic

Artichoke Garlic
Sicilian Artichoke Garlic / filareefarm.com

You will instantly be able to tell whether you’re dealing with an artichoke garlic or not from the fact that it usually has a lot fewer cloves on it, but at the same time they are much larger than the typical cloves you’ll find on a garlic.

You should also be able to distinguish a mellower flavor when you taste it than the average garlic, and although the artichoke garlic is a lot larger, it is also a lot more vulnerable to mold.

This is because the cloves can easily retain moisture in them which will instantly spell out disaster if you’re not careful with them. We recommend that you dry them up completely before storing them, so as to avoid any potential dangers.

Once completely dried, you should be able to keep them in your storage for around eight months or so.

Silverskin Garlic

Silverskin Garlic
Silverskin Garlic / deschutescanyongarlic.com

This is essentially just the complete opposite of the artichoke garlic in that it is a lot more flavorful than it while also retaining a lot less water and being a lot more resistant as well.

Its cloves are also relatively small when compared to those of the artichoke garlic, and we can’t forget about the fact that this type of garlic can also survive for way longer once properly dried off.

Color wise, as the name implies, the garlic actually features a bit of a silver hue on the inside, and although not the most flavorful garlic out there, it is definitely a lot more flavorful than we’ve come to expect from commercialized garlics.

Porcelain Garlic

Peeling Garlic
German Peeling Garlic / vermontbean.com

The typical porcelain garlic has very large cloves, around six or so per piece, and you will usually find them covered all the way up by that smooth white wrapper that always seems to be missing with the artichoke and the silverskin garlic.

One key difference between this one and every other type so far though is the fact that the outer skin of it is actually all white, while the cloves themselves are reddish to brownish.  This is also one of the most popular choices for home gardeners simply because of how adaptive they are to most any climates out there.

You can also throw the typical porcelain garlic in your storage room for up to eight months as long as you properly dried it off beforehand.

Taste wise, the porcelain garlic is actually considered to be amongst the tastiest option out there, it is very flavorful while also not stinging all that much afterwards. This makes it a fan favorite for most garlic lovers out there.

Rocambole Garlic

Rocambole Garlic
Rocambole Garlic / garlicclubb.com

We personally believe though that the rocambole garlic has the absolute best flavor of them all, without a doubt. This type is often times considered to be the very best option for most home gardeners out there because of how easy it is to grow and because of how tasty it is.

The only real problem with the rocambole garlic type is the fact that it needs to be kept far away from any excess water as even a tad bit too much of it will cause it to shrivel away and rot. Because of this, you may not want to invest in rocambole garlics if you live in a very wet area.

The typical rocambole garlic also offers you around eight to twelve different cloves per layer, making them very easy to peel and use in your meals.

Color wise, they are reddish to pinkish, although this again depends on the garlic itself. Each and every one of them has a unique pattern on them that varies from garlic to garlic.

Another sad aspect to take into consideration is the fact that it can only last for around six months or so after being successfully dried off. Any longer than that and they’ll definitely start to deteriorate.

Purple Stripe Garlic

Purple Stripe Garlic
Purple Stripe Garlic / theseedgarlicshop.com.au

This category can also be separated into three sub-categories as well which largely depends on the distinctive patterns that the purple streaks take on them. They are the following:

  • The purple stripe garlic
  • The marbled stripe garlic
  • The glazed purple garlic

The first of these is the purple stripe garlic, and it is famous for its relatively tasty flavor and of course, the massive purple stripe that can be seen on it.

The Marbled Stripe Garlic

The main difference between this type of a garlic and the one before this one is in the fact that this one offers you a lot larger cloves. Although there are a lot fewer of them on it, they are also a lot easier to peel off.

If you want to dry these off, we should warn you that they are a lot harder to completely dry off because of how large their bulb is and how much water it can retain.

The Glazed Purple Garlic

Last but not least from this subcategory we have the glazed purple garlic type, by far the most delicate of the three thanks to its thin outer skin.

They are not as common as most other types on this list and that is because of how easy they can be to mess with. You can literally drop one and it can rip apart in no time, that’s how fragile these are.

Most of the time, the only people that will ever purchase or grow these themselves are the people from the heritage conservancies or the family growers that have been doing this for many years now.

Taste wises they’re also not the greatest, and since they are so delicate, they are also not recommended for newcomers that want to grow their own stocks.

Asiatic Garlic

Asiatic Garlic
Asiatic Garlic / australiangarlic.net.au

The funny thing is that a couple of years ago, not many people actually knew about the Asiatic garlic type and for good reason too. But as time moved on more and more people realized the benefits that come from growing this type, especially considering the time management that it implies.

This type of a garlic is by far the fastest-growing one you will see out there, it can mature and get ready to be consumed in no time which is why so many gardeners are opting for this type nowadays.

The only real issue with it is the fact that the typical Asiatic garlic will only really last for about four to five months or so. This type of a garlic is also known for its unique taste and the fact that it almost has a spicy aftertaste to it which most other garlics out there don’t offer.

Creole Garlic

Creole Garlic
Creole Garlic / Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company

While not the tastiest option out there, the main reason as to why the creole garlic has been getting more and more popular over the years is the fact that it is by far the best-looking option you can find out there.

The typical creole garlic is rose-colored, and since it has such a small bulb it is often sought after for aesthetic reasons.

But that’s not all, as this garlic type is also very adaptable and it can easily survive through the toughest conditions out there, including serious drought seasons as well.

The fact that it has such a small bulb is also very good for it as it retains a lot less humidity, which means that it can survive for a lot longer in storage.

Turban Garlic

Turban Garlic
Turban Garlic / australiangarlic.net.au

This option is very similar to the Asiatic garlic type because it grows extremely fast. It has even larger cloves though and despite this it will still offer you around five to eight per bulb.

While it is definitely a good option if you want to use them as soon as you get your hands on them, this may not be the best option for you if you’re looking to keep them in storage for a very long time.

In fact, their skin automatically peels off after a while, which makes them hard to maintain to the point where you can literally find them rotten in less than four months in total.

Chesnok Garlic

Chesnok Garlic
Chesnok Garlic / sundriesfarm.com

This is a very good option for you to invest in because it can easily survive for up to twelve months in total in storage and on top of that, it is the type of a garlic that can be peeled off very easily making it a great option for newcomers and master chefs alike.

Color wise they’re a bit on the whiter side, with those classic purple-stripped wrappers over them.

Vietnamese Red Garlic

Vietnamese Red Garlic
Vietnamese Red Garlic / restlessacres.com

Yet another fan favorite option over here, the Vietnamese red garlic type is very popular because of its creamy texture and that specific flavor that it has that so many people love to get a taste of.

It can only survive for around 6 to 8 months in storage, but don’t worry, considering how tasty it is, we don’t think that you will be able to keep yourself away from using them in every meal whatsoever.

Elephant Garlic

Elephant Garlic
Elephant Garlic / sladefarms.com

Last but not least, we have the interesting Elephant Garlic. This is a very special type of garlic in that it offers you some of the most massive cloves out of all of the garlics we mentioned so far.

Flavor wise they’re very mild which makes them perfect for the grill or the oven either as additions to your meal or as meals themselves.


Types of Garlic
Alexander Lyubavin / unsplash.com

So, there you have them, the very best garlic types that we could think of. There are definitely a lot more of them out there, but we personally believe that these are without a doubt, the very best of them.

Choose whichever you prefer and remember, you can always try another one if the one you tried wasn’t exactly up to par with what you expected from it.

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About Leah Shelton

Involved in the “green” arena for over 20 years, Leah has worn many hats due to her diverse experience and knowledge in the field. In addition to writing for Agronomag, she’s also a sustainability consultant with a unique perspective on eco-friendly farming practices. Learn more about Agronomag's Editorial Process.

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