SILVERSKIN garlics are layered like Artichokes and are also adaptable to a range of growing conditions but may bolt when stressed by cold weather. They have 14-24 reddish cloves on oblong shaped bulbs with white wrappers. Silverskins mature late and are the most productive weight planted to weight yielded. Silverskins have a straight across simple flavor, up front bite and lingering pungency. While their tight clove skins make them more difficult peel, this makes them excellent keepers, tolerant of a broader range of temperature and humidity in storage than other garlic types. Silverskins are frequently used in garlic braids. A pound of Silverskin will produce 60-80 cloves. Silverskins are $10 per ¼ lb; $16 per ½ lb; $22 per lb.
Mt. St. Helens: said to be an heirloom from Western Washington, this is a productive, long storing Silverskin. Like its namesake, it is volatile and pungent. It has white wrappers with yellow streaking and 14-18 pink-red striped cloves. Anecdotally, it seems to favor warmer conditions where it produces fewer but larger cloves.
Nootka Rose (W6 35678): Brought to Waldron Island, Washinigton by homesteader Alice McDonald and passed down to Steve Bensel of Nootka Rose Farm. Waldron has no ferry service and on market days, the farm loads their produce onto a small boat to get to Friday Harbor. For you market growers out there whose farms are a long way from market, imagine that commute. Unfortunately, the farm got hit with White Rot and as far as i know, is no longer able to grow garlic. Nootka Rose- the garlic variety, not the farm, is a fairly typical Silverskin: pungent, long storing with 18+ red streaked cloves. 1/2 lb. limit
Silver Rose was named by Greg Lutovsky who got it from Basic Foods (now Gilroy Foods). This is one of the two standard California garlics commonly found in grocery stores. The industry grows it for a reason: it’s consistently productive and keeps remarkably well. While it yields well, it’s more susceptible to bolting during cold wet springs.
Bolivian: from an open market in the highland city of La Paz, elevation nearly 12,000 feet, this Silverskin has many diminutive cloves that would be a chore to peel freshly harvested but when most other varieties have turned soft, this one is still crisp and pungent. It has stored up to 18 months! It is the last garlic to make it to a well deserved place at the table (or the skillet, as it were). The photo below was taken after about a year from harvest and stored in less than ideal conditions. 1/4 lb. limit
Greek: quite similar to the Bolivian in size and shape, stores just as well, and is one of the last varieties to mature. 1/4 lb. limit
Sicilian Silver: This variety has been in commercial circulation for awhile and it’s hard to trace it to verify whether it actually came from Sicily. It did stand out in trials here. Harvest can get rather hectic and the quality of most varieties is affected by proper timing. This variety has lazy maturity, the leaves remaining green when others have browned and withered. This means it’s very forgiving about harvest timing, a quality appreciated here when so much else is not. It yields large bulbs from the abundance of smallish cloves that comprise the long storing heads.