Garlic farmer Chester Aaron at work.
The World of Garlic
A Few of Chester's Favorite Varieties
Softneck Silverskin garlic, with medium size head and 2-3 layers of striking rose to red cloves. Flavor is mild, sweet. Shelf-life: 5-7 months after harvest.
Softneck Artichoke garlic, with large rose-tinged bulbs and cloves streaked medium rose to red. Raw taste described as perfect garlic flavor. Shelf-life: 4-5 months after harvest.
Hardneck Purple Stripe with vivid clove colors. Pleasant flavor with a zing. Shelf-life: 4-5 months after harvest
California garlic farmer Chester Aaron talks to NPR's Steve Inskeep about his father's Russian root soup and two seasonal dips using garlic. He also describes some of the garlic varieties he grows and uses in the recipes.
Russian Root Soup
My father was from the Republic of Georgia and was raised on this soup. He made it for us when I was a child — an extremely rich and nourishing soup.
I boil beets, rutabagas, turnips, carrots, garlic, parsnips until tender, and then place them — with salt, pepper and raw garlic — in a food processor and liquefy. Season to taste.
Remember: everyone has a different body chemistry, so taste response varies. What might be spicy for me can be mild for you, so rely on your own taste test! Serve hot.
Hummus and Artichoke Dips w/Garlic
First I select a garlic variety, then soak the cloves in cold water for 15 minutes so the skins can come off more easily. Then I trim off the tip and the base, and use a traditional garlic press to process the cloves.
For the hummus dip: to 1 1/2 cups hummus, I add 2 tablespoons of pressed garlic, according the directions above, 1 teaspoon oil, and stir.
For the artichoke dip: I start by making an artichoke pulp by skimming the meat from the leaves and mixing it with the boiled meat from the artichoke core.
To 1 1/2 cups of boiled artichoke pulp, add 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, no more than 1/8 teaspoon finely chopped jalapeno, 1 tablespoon grated Parmaggiano cheese, 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil.
Then add 2 tablespoons pressed garlic, according to the directions above.
Serve dips at room temperature.