Seed Garlic / Culinary Garlic

Grading Garlic

You may be curious what the difference is between seed garlic and culinary or table garlic. The only difference between the two is the size of mature, harvested bulbs. That's it! All garlic have the same taste, flavor and qualities specific to that variety. When we talk about garlic 'seed' we are referring to all the individual garlic cloves within the bulb. Modern garlic has pretty much lost its ability to reproduce traditional seed by way of flowering because of domestication over hundreds of years. When planting garlic it is the individual cloves that are pushed into the soil. It's important to note that seed garlic should test clean for plant pathogens.   

Here at Sky Lakes farm, when we harvest and cure our garlic crop we handle and inspect every single bulb. We use a handmade sizing board that each bulb is passed through. Any bulb that measures 2" and larger is set aside as seed garlic. Any bulb that measures in under 2" is set aside for culinary garlic. If you are choosing garlic to plant for your own crop you will want to use garlic bulbs that are as big as possible measuring 2" or larger! Seed garlic is an exact DNA clone of its parent bulb so you should plant cloves from the largest and healthiest bulbs you can get your hands on. Simply put, the best bulbs come from the best cloves which came from the best bulbs of the prior season's harvest. 

If you are purchasing garlic strictly as food, don't worry about the sizing grades here. Like we mentioned above, seed garlic and culinary garlic are the same in their varietal qualities- you won't be shorting yourself or your recipes! However, if you prefer to work with big cloves and bulk prepare your recipes for example, you may want to choose the larger seed garlic over culinary sized bulbs. Please note that smaller bulbs tend to have a longer storage life than larger bulbs.