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|Subspecies:||A. ampeloprasum var. ampeloprasum|
|Allium ampeloprasum var. ampeloprasum
Elephant garlic (Allium ampeloprasum var. ampeloprasum) is a plant belonging to the onion genus. It is not a true garlic, but actually a variant of the species to which the garden leek belongs. It has a tall, solid, flowering stalk and broad, flat leaves much like those of the leek, but forms a bulb consisting of very large, garlic-like cloves. The flavor of these, while not exactly like garlic, is much more similar to garlic than to leeks. The flavor is milder than garlic, and much more palatable to some people than garlic when used raw as in salads.
The mature bulb is broken up into cloves which are quite large and with papery skins and these are used for both culinary purposes and propagation. There are also much smaller cloves with a hard shell that occur on the inside of the bulb. These are often ignored, but if they are planted, they will the first year produce a non-flowering plant which has a solid bulb, essentially a single large clove. In their second year, this single clove will break up into many separate cloves. Elephant garlic is not generally propagated by seeds.
The plant, if left alone, will spread into a clump with many flowering heads. These are often left in flower gardens as an ornamental and to discourage pests.
When crushed and then analyzed using a DART ion source, elephant garlic has been shown to produce both allicin, found in garlic, and syn-propanethial-S-oxide (onion lachrymatory factor), found in onion and leek, but absent in garlic, consistent with the classification of elephant garlic as a closer relative of leek than of garlic.
- Block E, Dane AJ, Thomas S, Cody RB (2010). "Applications of Direct Analysis in Real Time–Mass Spectrometry (DART-MS) in Allium Chemistry. 2-Propenesulfenic and 2-Propenesulfinic Acids, Diallyl Trisulfane S-Oxide and Other Reactive Sulfur Compounds from Crushed Garlic and Other Alliums". Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 58 (8): 4617–4625. doi:10.1021/jf1000106. PMID 20225897.
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- Garlic and Elephant Garlic, National Vegetable Society (UK)[dead link]
- Photos showing the different stages of growth of elephant garlic