SPRING 2011. GREEN GARLIC. 05.06.11
It’s safe to say that by now spring has likely made, at the very least, a cameo appearance in most places across the country. Because the climate in Washington, DC is a bit warmer than that of my midwestern home place, we tend to get the early spring produce items a little sooner. However, this spring has been spotty at best. Just when we think it’s here for good, bravely tucking away the wool sweaters and busting out the open-toed shoes, a bone-chilling rain will dampen our flower beds and our spirits as a reminder that we must wait patiently, just a tad longer. Despite the hand dealt by moody, fickle Mother Nature, some eagerly anticipated signs of spring do not wait. Our local farmers market (three cheers for the Mt. Pleasant Farmers’ Market!) opens this weekend as do many of the local markets around the country. Don’t know which markets are open near you and what delicious, fresh produce they’ll be selling each week? No problem. Check out this very cool tool from our friends at the USDA.
I’ve taken care to feature ingredients here that are easily accessible and for the most part, available in many parts of the country. Springtime is a bit of a challenge due to the variations in temperatures across regions and the effect such temps have on crop availability. Green garlic, which I readily admit to never having heard of before this season, is an early spring crop with a short season. Unlike the bold flavors of mature garlic bulbs, the early green shoots of the garlic you know and love are harvested young, producing a milder, sweeter flavor. The pungency of garlic is still present, though muted significantly. Here is the catch – I’ve not yet found green garlic in a grocery store. I checked several – both large national chains and small mom-and-pops – and not a one carried this rare spring green. However, odds are that you can find green garlic at your local farmers market. You see where I’m going with this? I know what you’re thinking. Now that I have taken the plunge and devoted myself to you exclusively, I bring you weird ingredients you can’t get at your local grocery. Before you roll your eyes and hit “unsubscribe,” know that this is a short trip off the beaten path. We’re branching out and trying new things, right? I have plenty of fun planned – using ingredients we’ve all heard of! – so stick around and enjoy. After all, no one should have to cry “wee wee wee” all the way home.