Discovering the real garlic
Ajo Morado (belonging to the morado variety from Cuenca) is a bulb from the species Allium Sativum L. Preserved by the PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) Ajo Morado de Las Pedroñeras, is a premium product with distinctive features.
You will notice that its colour ranges from light violet to a characteristic intense purple, and some have red tones depending on the land and seasonal variations and annual climate changes. The Morado Garlic bulb has a round spherical shape and is medium sized. Its cloves are small/medium sized with a half-moon shape and when the skin is removed the cloves are a yellowish white colour. The bulb has a dry texture (it hardly releases water if it is crushed) and more skin (layers) which makes it more difficult to peel.
It ripens later than other varieties (it is harvested in the month of July whereas White Garlic is harvested at the end of May.) Its crop has lower yields: 10.000 to 12.000 kg of Garlic per hectare versus 12.000-16.000kg of White Garlic. Morado Garlic has a longer shelf life as it germinates later.
It is easy to differentiate the Spring White variety with its regular structure and milder flavour. It has a shorter shelf life and a slightly moist taste due to its higher water content, while the Spring Violet variety has chestnut coloured cloves and a spiciness and pungency similar to those of White Garlic. Both varieties are from seeds of Chinese origin produced in Spain.
Several scientific studies have shown that Morado Garlic from Las Pedroñeras contains a higher proportion of organosulfur compounds compared with garlic from different origins. These compounds have a low molecular weight, they are very volatile and have high reactivity. They are rich in Sulphur, iodine and silica, all of which are interesting in pharmacology, particularly allicin which is responsible for the smell and taste of the garlic. That´s why Morado Garlic smells and tastes stronger (it’s said to be pungent, “spiky”) and so less quantity is used for cooking. These characteristics are more easily perceived when a clove is sliced and the light compounds are released.