MARBLED garlic plants are tall, have wide curvaceous leaves and stout scapes that are ideal for grilling. Often dappled with dark purple, bulbs can get quite large and contain 5-7 squat tan to brown cloves with thick skins that are relatively easy to peel. A small percentage of Marbled will produce weak stems that become pliable enough to enable braiding. Marbleds store fairly well and tend to be quite pungent. Some of these have produced true seed. A pound of Marbled seed garlic will yield 35-40 cloves. Marbleds are $8 per ¼ lb; $14 per ½ lb; $20 per lb.
Bai Pi Suan: ❧ from the far west China province of Xinjiang, homeland of the Uyghur and Xibe peoples, comes this spicy, colorful strain. The Uyghur language is Turkic, like those of other Central Asian peoples with whom they are related linguistically and religiously. Until the mid 18th century, northern Xingjiang was populated by the Dzungar people. The Qing perpetrated genocide, exterminating nearly a million people, effectively clearing the lands for settlement by Han Chinese, Hui (Dungans), Xibe and expansion of Uyghurs. Han settlement expanded under Mao and has increasingly dominated the region. The Uyghurs have been shut out of employment opportunities, been religiously persecuted and find their language and culture eroded away and now hundreds of thousands are detained in newly “legalized” indoctrination/concentration camps. One thing both Uyghur, Hui and Xibe have in common with the Han Chinese is that garlic favors heavily in their cuisines and this fiery garlic may have been consumed by all over the last few thousand years. 2 lb. limit
Dunganski: ❧ Likely named for the Dungan or Hui people. The Hui are ethnic Chinese Muslims who now largely reside in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, having fled China subsequent to the Dungan Revolt in the mid 19th century. This turbulent period of Chinese history during the Qing dynasty is complicated but further sheds light on current events in Xinjiang. There are actually two cultivars in circulation with the name Dunganski: one is a Purple Stripe but this one is clearly Marbled. Its acquisition in Central Asia is attributed to John Swenson. The plants leaves are a little paler and more sprawling than other Marbleds and its raw flavor is complex, the heat building and subsiding in waves. While its yields vary a bit year to year, it is an outstanding, richly colored strain and has produced true seed. 2 lb. limit
Khabar: Acquired from the eastern Siberian city of Khabarovsk, this Marbled strain is the most consistently productive here year after year. Quite pungent, it starts hot, gets hotter, then lingers. Khabarovsk lies at the confluence of the Ussuri and Amur rivers and close to the border with China.
Lithuanian Purple: Marbled garlic is common throughout the Baltics and this may well be genetically identical to other accessions from that region. Marbled varieties like this readily adapt to chilly northern climes. Garlic favors prominently in Lithuanian dishes. The Litvaks, Jews who began settling in Lithuania in the 13th century, used garlic copiously in their cuisine, the influence of which remains as a ghostly imprint on national favorites like Kugelis (a savory potato Kugel). The most prominent garlic laden Lithuanian dish though is Kepta Duona: friend dark rye bread, rubbed with raw garlic (optionally drizzled with cheese) and served with ale.
Siberian: Said to have been procured by fishermen trading leafy greens for garlic with subsistence farmers on the Kamchatka Peninsula which lies east of the Siberian mainland. It is possible that Siberian and Khabar are duplicates given the geographical proximity of their origins: Kamchatka lies north of the mouth of the Amur River. Here at Garlicana, the morphology of the plants, bulbs as well as their flavors are indistinguishable: stocky with inwardly curvaceous lighter green leaves, thick scapes (superb when roasted), large, potentially enormous, colorful heads with plump purple cloves and fiery raw flavor.