Garlic is believed to have been cultivated for over 5,000 years. The Romans believed that it could cure as many as 61 different ailments! Garlic can be classified into two types, the hard-neck and soft-neck. One can easily differentiate between the two by their physical features. Hard-neck, as the name suggests, has a harder stem at the top of the bulb in comparison to soft-neck. Hard-necks are a select group of garlics that is not readily available in the market.
Now, which group does rocambole belongs to? It is a hard-neck and is believed to have one of the best flavors of all!
Rocambole garlic is among the unique spices of Northeast India. It has purple splotches and thinner skin. Since the skin can be removed easily, it makes Rocambole a kitchen favorite. Like all garlics it contains Allicin, a sulfur based compound with antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties.
Rocambole: Annual Growth Cycle
Rocambole requires cold climatic conditions and hence grows well in Northeast India. As you may know, the cloves themselves are sown to get the next crop and this happens by September. Shoots appear before winter, but over the winter the growth is slow, which is said to add to the flavor of Rocambole garlic. The plant needs regular watering. The bulbs are dug out by August and cured. Curing is an important part, where the harvest is allowed to naturally dry in a well-ventilated room. The leaves and the roots are retained through this stage, which helps the garlic pods to retain oils and moisture while the outer covering dries. The journey from one clove to a large bulb takes about one year. The cured bulbs are then cleaned and got ready for the market.
Let’s Talk About Shelf Life
Rocambole garlic has one of the shortest shelf lives among garlics, of just 5-6 months. But wait! Rocambole is excellent once dehydrated and can be stored for years. Apart from dehydrating, we can also pickle them and increase their shelf life for years.
Using Rocambole Garlic at Home
Use it like you would any garlic, but expect much more!
- Use Rocambole to add flavor to your curries
- It can also be dried and pickled.
- Eat it raw for good health and a garlic punch.
- Sprinkle grated garlic in your salads and add pungency
Medicinal Benefits of Garlic
Much like other garlics, it is said to have multiple health benefits. Said to balance blood pressure and cholesterol it works as an anti-fungal and antiviral agent too. It is also believed to be helpful in treating digestive disorders and increase immunity.