Harvests VERY early in season - stores about 5-6 months.
Asiatic garlics typically have six to eight cloves per bulb in a circular configuration around a central scape. They're generally large bulbs with fat cloves. The bulb wrappers are firm, tight and vivid with broad, bold purple stripes merging into areas of solid purple. A very strongly colored garlic. The clove covers are silky and a lovely golden tan with a rosy aura and tiny pink veins. It is one of the very first cultivars planted in the fall and the first harvested in the spring around here. The taste puts it in a class almost by itself.
When you first bite into a clove there is a beautiful pure garlic flavor that is utterly devoid of heat, so you begin to settle back and enjoy the marvelous flavor and after six or eight seconds you can begin to feel a slight warmth in the back of your mouth and you start to say "Ah, there it is, I knew there had to be a little heat." Suddenly your entire mouth seems to explode in flames, your face turns red and you break out in an instant heavy sweat. The fire rages hotter and hotter for about 30 to 45 seconds and you begin to wonder what to do about it, then it begins to gently dissipate and is almost gone at the end of one minute leaving you to sit in your sweat and wonder whether you have the courage to take another bite any time soon. It took 30 to 45 minutes for the hair on the back of my neck to dry-just from a half of a clove. I have come to nick-name this cultivar the Chinese Time Bomb.
I no longer wonder where fire breathing dragons come from in Chinese folklore - they're ordinary people who have eaten too much of these Chinese garlics.
While it is not the hottest garlic I have ever tasted,(Romanian Red is) it isn't any too far behind. In my limited experience, (I've only tasted 50 kinds) Metechi and Skuri #2 (Purple Stripes) are a little hotter and perhaps Wild Buff and Rosewood, too-both porcelains. If you want a powerful early harvesting garlic that will leave you breathless, or should I say breathful, try a few of these two Chinese firecrackers, they should have a very high allicin potential and be good medicinal or insecticide garlics-but make sure your fire insurance premiums are paid up first.
NOTE:None of the growers in our farmers market currently have this cultivar for sale. If you grow this cultivar organically and wish to sell it in our online farmers market, please click here to contact us!