Young shoots offer flavor, few calories

Nutrition: Green garlic adds flavor and nutrition, but few calories. One stalk contains only about four calories, but is very high in vitamins B6 and C as well as several antioxidants. It’s believed to help lower blood pressure and cholesterol.

Selection: Look for firm stalks with bright green leaves and no signs of yellowing or age. Early in green garlic season, the bulb portion will be quite thin and look like a scallion or leek. As the garlic matures, the bulb portion becomes bigger and its taste grows stronger.

Storage: Unlike dried garlic bulbs, green garlic needs refrigeration. Store in the refrigerator’s crisper drawer, wrapped loosely in a plastic bag. It will stay fresh for a week or longer.

Preparation: The whole plant is edible, but the roots and older leaves may be woody or fibrous. For most uses, trim off the roots and any green leaf tips that have yellowed or dried. In general, the white and pale green portions (about 6 to 7 inches) have the best flavor.

Because of its mild flavor, finely mince green garlic for most dishes. It can be eaten raw or cooked and used as a substitute for clove garlic, green onions or leeks. Unlike onion or leeks, green garlic retains its shape and crunchy texture when cooked.

– Debbie Arrington