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Is a clove of garlic a standardized measurement?

Posted by greenmulberry 5-Iowa (My Page) on
Fri, Feb 20, 09 at 10:25

It is often discussed that canning measurements are precise, and to be followed exactly, yet I often see recipes calling for a certain number of garlic cloves.

This causes me to have to "guess" about how much garlic to use, because I know that the garlic cloves I get are much bigger than standard. I have even had bulbs of the hardneck garlic (which usually have bigger cloves than softneck) that I grow and buy locally, that even though they appeared to be a standard size bulb, only contain three or four GIANT cloves! Once I had a clove as big as a walnut in the shell. Clearly these do not count as a single clove, so I chop them into smaller pieces and count those, guessing about what a standard size clove might be.

Even garlic purchased at the supermarket shows great variability in clove size. I am wondering if there is any standard measurement for what a clove "should" be, when describing recipes that call for garlic cloves. What about a teaspoon minced?

I always make a best guess, but I thought that this would be a interesting topic of conversation,I would like to know what people's thoughts are on the subject of "when do you decide a clove is too big to count as a clove?"

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Is a clove of garlic a standardized measurement?

I think making a best guess is what you have to do...precise as possible but you have to use common sense too.

RE: Is a clove of garlic a standardized measurement?

No, garlic cloves can be all sizes as you mentioned, some are tiny while others are very large. I grow the Music type here, and they do quite well and are always single layers and quite big cloves. They are a hard neck variety that is planted in fall and is harvested the following early summer. There is a scape that also needs to be cut off once they show up. These scapes take necessary nutrients from the bulbs. Depending on a recipe, garlic, like salt can be as much, or as little as you prefer. Most store bought are soft neck and do have many sizes in a single bulb. Check out elephant garlic. Milder, with huge cloves!

RE: Is a clove of garlic a standardized measurement?

Of course elephant garlic is actually not garlic at all but a garlic flavored leek. All the same, a clove the size of a baseball is a bit much I think.

RE: Is a clove of garlic a standardized measurement?

Actually the whole elephant garlic is about the size of a baseball, not a single clove. They are quite mild in any case. I tried growing many garlic types in the past, and was very impressed with Music. Right now, they are not being sold for growing as its past their planting time, which is the fall. Orders for Music will be accepted starting about Mid May to June, for fall planting. I add bone meal to my garlic trench prior to planting the individual cloves. My Music from this past summer garlic is now getting to a brown spot stage, so I must think about removing the skins and either pickling it, or chop and freeze it. Have about 15 whole bulbs left. This year, I hope to also have some decent shallots. The type I am growing are bigger than golf balls, and are next to the garlic.

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