Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

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Garlic is the central Asian native Allium sativum, which produces a tight head of a dozen or more bulbs, or “cloves.” “Elephant garlic” is actually a bulbing variety of leek, with a milder flavor, and “wild garlic” yet another species, A. ursinum. Unlike multilayered onion bulbs, garlic cloves consist of a single swollen storage leaf surrounding the young shoot. That leaf contains much less water than onion scales do—under 60% of its weight, compared to 90% for onions— and a much higher concentration of fructose and fructose chains, so during frying or roasting it dries out and browns much quicker than onions do.