Hardneck Vs. Softneck Garlic: What's The Difference?

It seems as though there are two camps of people. Those who cannot stand garlic and those who cannot use enough of it. But no matter how much you love garlic, you have probably noticed that there are several types. Like green garlic, which is young garlic that's typically harvested during the spring before it has had time to fully mature and turn into what you probably think of as garlic (via Food52). Green garlic more closely resembles green onions to the eye, but it has a nice, mild garlic flavor. Then there's hardneck and softneck garlic.

What you see in the grocery store more often than not is softneck garlic, according to The Spruce. The primary difference is the type of leaves or stalks that grow up from the bulb. Softneck garlic bulbs have leaves that stay soft once they are fully grown. You probably see these more often than hardneck garlic at your grocery store because they grow more quickly and stay good for longer. However, there are several reasons to seek out hardneck garlic.

These are the perks of hardneck garlic

Hardneck garlic has one main stalk that grows from its bulb, according to The Spruce. Another marked characteristic of hardneck garlic is that the bulbs tend to include noticeably larger cloves of garlic, though, there are fewer of them per bulb. One of the primary reasons you should look for hardneck garlic is because of its flavor, which is more complex and usually reflects its own terroir. According to Garlic Clubb, different varieties of hardneck garlic can have flavors that taste more garlicky, buttery, or even spicy. The nuanced flavors make hardneck garlic the perfect pick for dishes that really showcase garlic and its more complex flavors.

So, pickup some hardneck garlic and try preparing a number of delicious dishes like Ina Garten's penne arrabiata which calls for 24 cloves of garlic (via Food Network). You can also try dishes like garlic confit made with herbs, toast with broccoli and garlic ricotta, garlic-loaded roasted chicken, or even garlic honey (via Bon Appétit). You might be surprised by the rich flavors that you can get using this type of garlic.