Scientific Name: Allium sativum
Country of Origin: Central Asia
A member of the allium family, garlic is related to onions, leeks, chives, and shallots. Garlic is native to central Asia and northeastern Iran. Across the world, garlic is used as a seasoning and as a common ingredient in traditional medicines. In New England, garlic is planted in the fall and overwinters under a layer of frozen soil. In the early spring, garlic scapes, a green tube with a distinctive curl and a flowerbud-shaped end, grow out of the tops of the garlic plants. Scapes have a milder flavor than clove garlic, but can be used in all the same ways, from sautés to roasts to pickling. Since most garlic in cultivation is reproduced asexually (by planting a clove), there is no need to allow the flowerbud at the end of the garlic scape to flower and go to seed. Harvesting the scapes is beneficial for the garlic plant, as it allows the plant to redirect energy back into growing the bulb.