How to Use Green Garlic, Late Spring’s Most Prized Ingredient

We kick off our summer produce series with a beloved aromatic

June 3, 2024 9:18 am
a farmer wearing a yellow raincoat with a handful of green garlic in a field of green garlic
Don't miss out on this early June staple.
Getty Images

One of the absolute best parts of summer is seeing the farmers market come alive with all of its vibrant produce. Sure, I relish in winter’s root vegetables, citrus and chicories, but it’s hard to beat the strawberries of early summer, July’s eggplant and green beans, and, of course, August and September’s plump, flavorful tomatoes. The only thing that’s sometimes missing from a shopping trip is a bit of inspiration. 

So for the duration of summer (for the sake of this series, that means June through August), InsideHook is featuring a piece of produce at its peak for each of the 13 weeks. We chose the Northeast as our barometer because it experiences four true seasons, and the experts at Natoora are helping us select which produce to feature throughout.

I became a fan of Natoora during the pandemic. Like a few other food suppliers in the NYC area, Natoora pivoted their business to include delivery to consumers, rather than just restaurants and chefs. I was blown away by the flavor and quality of their fruits and vegetables — basically a 180 from the barely ripe or almost rotting produce at my local grocer (if you live in NYC, you know that finding good produce, outside of the farmers market, is a struggle). Which makes sense because Natoora’s whole mission is to “restore flavor, transparency and seasonality to a broken food system.”

Chefs love Natoora because their people are actually on the ground in Europe and the United States, visiting farms and tasting the produce they grow to ensure it’s of the highest quality. They get to know the farmers and their land personally because that helps them tell a story about the produce they’re selling. 

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a man with curly hair and glasses standing in a garden holding green garlic
Joey with his green garlic

Kicking Things Off With Green Garlic

Sometimes known as spring garlic, green garlic is simply immature garlic and looks a little bit like a spring onion. “Green garlic will be at its peak during the first week of June, before scapes begin,” says Natoora’s Brand Manager Phoebe Creaghan. “We work with an outstanding young grower named Joey who leases land on the Chester Agricultural Center. He took over from Larry Tse and learned a lot of his methods through Larry’s guidance. The green garlic he grows also comes from saved seed from Larry.”

Here’s a rundown of everything you need to know about green garlic, courtesy of Natoora:

  • What to look for when shopping: Look for firm, green stalks with an immature garlic bulb, akin to a green onion.
  • How to store it for maximum freshness: Store cold and dry, and trim tops if they are showing signs of wilting or decay.
  • How to use it: Can be used in place of garlic — chop as you would a green onion. Use the entire plant as is: both the stalk and bulb are edible.

The Recipe

As I as thinking about a recipe to feature in our summer produce kickoff, I immediately thought of this dish, which I thoroughly enjoyed last year when green garlic was in season. It comes from Cooking With Mushrooms by Andrea Gentl, one of my favorite cookbooks of 2022. In this recipe, Gentl turns meaty lion’s mane mushrooms and spring garlic into a hearty vegetarian main.

“When I roast the lion’s mane for this taco filling, I like to sprinkle them with some type of homemade specialty salt — in this case, a fruity, floral spruce salt with a hit of piney resin — and a few aromatics like spring garlic and dried leeks,” Gentl said in the book. “I make spruce salt every spring when the vibrant green tips come into season. Use any type of specialty salt you have; yuzu, ramp and leek salt are all good choices here.

Get to your farmer’s market this week while this of-the-moment ingredient is still at its prime.

a cast iron pan with lions mane mushrooms, sauteed green garlic and a metal spoon
Lion’s mane with spruce salt and spring (green) garlic
Artisan Books

Lion’s Mane With Spruce Salt and Spring (Green) Garlic

Servings: 4

  • 2 lbs. fresh lion’s mane mushrooms, left whole or broken into smallish clusters
  • 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into .5-inch pieces
  • 1 tsp. spruce tip salt
  • 1 tsp. cracked black pepper
  • 1 stalk of spring garlic, thinly sliced
  • .25 cup dried leeks
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp. ume plum vinegar, for drizzling
  • Himalayan pink salt
    1. Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).

    2. In a Dutch oven or on a large sheet pan, arrange the mushrooms in an even layer and tuck in the pats of butter evenly throughout. Scatter the spruce tip salt and pepper over the top and sprinkle with the sliced spring garlic and dried leeks. Drizzle with the lemon juice and vinegar.

    3. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes. Toss the mushrooms with the pan juices and roast until edges are crispy and brown, about 15 minutes longer. Remove the mushrooms from the oven and transfer to a cutting board. Using two forks, shred the mushrooms into small pieces.

    4. Transfer the pieces to 1 large or 2 medium cast-iron skillets and cook on the stovetop over medium heat until nicely crisped all over, 5 to 10 minutes. Season with pink salt to taste.

Excerpted from Cooking With Mushrooms: A Fungi Lover’s Guide to the World’s Most Versatile, Flavorful, Health-Boosting Ingredients by Andrea Gentl. Artisan Books © 2022


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