Food

Difference between hard neck garlic and soft neck garlic

Main difference

The main difference between hard neck garlic and soft neck garlic is that hard neck garlic has a firm stem, while soft neck garlic has a soft stem that grows from the center of the bulb.

Hard Neck Garlic vs. Soft Neck Garlic

Garlic has been a kitchen staple for years with its distinctive smell and strong flavor. The two main types of garlic are hard neck garlic and soft neck garlic. The “neck” of garlic is the stem or flower stalk that grows through the center of the garlic bulb.

Hard neck garlic scientifically known as Allium sativum ssp. ophioscorodon is also called top-set garlic. It is so named because it has a stiff neck. The tough stalk of stiff-necked garlic makes it impossible for pickers to braid it. Soft neck garlic scientifically known as Allium sativum ssp. sativum is also called artichoke garlic. Its stem is very soft, which makes it easy to cut and braid.

Stiff-necked garlic needs a cold environment to fully develop. Mainly, it is suitable for growing in regions where the winter temperature is cold for a longer time. Soft-necked garlic is suitable for growing in regions with mild winter temperatures. It needs little or no winter cold for its best development.

A stiff neck bulb has a regular shape. It has fewer larger teeth. Soft-necked garlic bulbs are usually larger. It is imperfectly shaped and contains more teeth.

Stiff-necked garlic is more convenient to peel because it has a thick skin. Softneck garlic is difficult to peel due to its thin skin. Hard-necked garlic has a more pungent and powerful flavor. The taste of soft neck garlic is mild. The storage time of hard neck garlic is shorter than that of soft neck garlic. Stiff-necked garlic can withstand cold climates.

Comparative chart
Hard neck garlic Soft neck garlic
A type of garlic that has a firm stem. A kind of soft stem garlic
Nail size
Larger Less
Duration
More short More
Stem / Stem
Firm Gentle
Number of nails
Few Numerous
Skin
slim Thick
Best growth in regions
Where the winter temperature is cold for a longer period Of mild winter temperature
Shape
Regular Imperfect
Taste
Spicy, powerful Tempered

What is stiff neck garlic?

Garlic is one of 700 species in the onion or Allium family. There are two known types of garlic. One of them is the hard neck garlic which is scientifically known as Allium sativum ssp. ophioscorodon . It is also sometimes referred to as stiff neck or top-setting garlic. Stiff-necked garlic has large cloves that are easy to peel.

It has a more intense flavor than soft necks. It is also sometimes referred to as stiff neck or top set garlic. Stiff-necked garlic has large cloves that are easy to peel. It has a more intense flavor than soft necks. The garlic “neck” refers to the stem or flower stalk that grows through the center of the bulb. As the name implies, this type of garlic has a stiff neck. This tough stiff neck garlic stalk makes it impossible for pickers to braid.

The loose-skinned, easy-to-peel characteristic of hardneck garlic reduces its shelf life to just around four to five months. Stiff-necked garlic sends out a flowering stalk, or scape, which turns woody. Stiff-necked garlic thrives fully in cold climates.

It is suitable for growing in regions where the winter temperature is cold for a longer time. A stiff neck bulb has a regular shape. It has fewer larger teeth. The taste of hard neck garlic is more powerful and spicier.

Main types
  • Purple stripe. Tougher, better for gardeners living in Northeast Canada and the US.
  • Satin white, about four cloves per bulb, best for gardeners living in temperate climates
  • Tan or brown, 12 cloves per bulb, stronger

Subtypes

Asian, glazed purple stripe, Creole, Middle Eastern, mottled purple stripe, and turban.

What is soft neck garlic?

Garlic has been a kitchen staple for years with its distinctive smell and strong flavor. Soft neck garlic is scientifically known as Allium sativum ssp. Sativum . It is one of the main types of garlic. The “neck” of hard-necked garlic is its stem or flower stalk that grows through the center of its bulb. Soft neck garlic is also known as artichoke garlic.

Its stem is very soft, which makes it easy to cut and braid. Soft-necked garlic varieties do not develop a flower stalk or scape. Soft-necked garlic is suitable for growing in regions with mild winter temperatures. It needs little or no winter cold for its best development. It is best for hot climates.

Soft neck garlic varieties store very well and have a long shelf life, making them ideal for mass production. In perfect storage conditions, soft-necked garlic heads last for nine to twelve months.

The taste of soft neck garlic is mild. Due to its mild flavor, soft neck garlic is commonly used for processed products as seasonings. Softnecks have many teeth on each of their heads, not just one row.

The teeth are not regular in shape. Some of the teeth are large, while others are small. When ripe, a soft-necked garlic bulb can contain up to twenty cloves. Soft-necked garlic has a thin, tight skin around each clove that is difficult to peel.

Softneck Types

  • White Piacenza
  • California early and late whites
  • Corsican red
  • Inchelium red
  • Silver rose
  • Silvery white
  • French red
Key differences
  1. Hard neck garlic is a type of garlic that has a firm stem, while soft neck garlic is a type of garlic with a smooth stem that grows from the center of the bulb.
  2. Hard neck garlic is very easy to peel because it has a thick skin, on the contrary, soft neck garlic is difficult to peel due to its thin skin.
  3. The firm stalk of stiff-necked garlic makes it impossible for pickers to braid; on the other hand, the soft stem of soft neck garlic makes cutting and braiding easy.
  4. Stiff-necked garlic needs a cold environment to fully develop. Mainly, it is suitable for growing in regions where the winter temperature is cold for a longer time, while soft neck garlic is suitable for growing in the regions of mild winter temperatures. It needs little or no winter cold for its best development.
  5. The cloves on the hardneck garlic bulb are larger, and few, on the other side, the cloves on the softneck garlic bulb are smaller and more numerous.
  6. A hard-necked bulb has a regular shape, but a soft-necked garlic is usually larger and imperfectly shaped.
  7. Hard neck garlic is stored for a short period, conversely, soft neck garlic is stored for a longer period.
  8. Hard neck garlic has a more pungent and powerful flavor, conversely soft neck garlic has a mild flavor.
  9. Hard neck garlic can withstand cold climates, on the contrary, soft neck garlic grows well in temperate and warm climates.

Final Thought

Hard neck garlic and soft neck garlic are the two main types of garlic that differ from each other based on their size, taste, number of cloves and skin, etc.

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