Every species of plant and animal contains one variety that is just a little bit prettier than the others and garlic is no exception! In this post, I will introduce the Glazed Purple Stripe, the beauty queen of the gourmet garlic world. Like Marbled Purple Stripes, Glazed Purple Stripes were once considered to be a sub-type of the Purple Stripe group rather than their own distinct category. Now, they are respected by most growers as their own unique genetic strain. There are a number of Glazed Purple Stripe cultivars that you may be familiar with including Purple Glazer, Vekak and Red Rezan.
Similar to other hardneck garlic varieties Glazed Purple Stripe cultivars will perform better in cooler regions, although some growers have been successful with them in warmer climates. They tend to be fairly hardy and not very fussy, making them an easy growing option for most gardens. The plants are medium to dark green and appear thinner and more delicate when grown alongside more robust garlic types such as Porcelains and Rocamboles.
Glazed Purple Stripes are usually strong bolters. The scapes, which can curl as many as three times before they begin to straighten, are often ready to cut before other types. Their dainty size makes them a good choice for culinary use, with few woody stems even as they begin to uncurl. Umbels contain anywhere from 10-50 small to medium sized bulbils, which if planted, will produce a full-sized bulb in three to five years. Similar to the other Purple Stripe categories, scape removal is important to maximize the size of the bulbs at harvest.
It is the beautiful, satiny bulb skins of the Glazed Purple Stripes that both gave them their name and also assisted their designation as an independent type. Luminous silvery-white skins are dappled and striped with silky, shimmering purples, and sometimes even a golden hue. The clove skins are equally shiny, colored in a range of tans with a purple bloom. Particular coloration of bulbs can vary between both cultivars and growing conditions, creating a unique appearance of the same cultivar in different regions. The bulbs are medium in size with large, stocky cloves that sit between Purple Stripes and Marbled Purple Stripes in shape and size. Clove number in each bulb varies between cultivars, but commonly ranges from six to twelve.
The appeal of Glazed Purple Stripe gourmet garlic is not merely due to its appearance. The clove flesh has a moderate heat, producing a warm, but not over-powering, mouth-feel. Compared to some other varieties, such as Rocamboles, the taste can be somewhat mild, but with a flavor that is still rich and complex. Glazed Purple Stripes are especially good for those who enjoy a good garlic taste but who find the hot sensation associated with raw garlic or a strong lingering aftertaste unpleasant. A versatile type, they are excellent for recipes requiring either raw or cooked garlic. They also have a respectable storage time of approximately six to eight months thanks to their tight clove skins, so you can expect to enjoy them all through the winter months!