Giant Russian Garlic – The French Alternative

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According to Jackie French, garlic is said to be an excellent vampire repellent. However, Jackie warns that ordinary garlic may not always be enough to do the job. She suggests that you tackle severe vampire problems with giant Russian garlic.

Growing Russian garlic

Russian garlic (Allium ampeloprasum) is a tough, robust plant to 1.2m (4′) tall. It has cylindrical stems, greyish green, waxy leaves and pale pink to lilac flowers. It will grow everywhere in Australia. (Note: Russian garlic is an environmental weed in Western Australia.)

Enrich the soil with manure before planting. In cool to temperate climates plant the cloves in late summer, pointy end up and 15-20cm apart. In hot areas chill Russian garlic in the fridge for a month, then plant in midwinter. Add a slow-release fertiliser at planting time, or use a complete fertiliser (such as Dynamic Lifter) while it’s growing in winter and spring. Harvest after flowering when the stem is just starting to die back. Dig up the bulbs, peel away the outer dirty layers of skin, and leave in a dry place until the leaves turn papery. Hang the giant garlic up in big bundles tied with string until ready to use.

Cooking with Russian garlic

Russian garlic is milder than ordinary garlic. When roasted or sauteed it does not have the same strong aroma or taste. Jackie’s favourite recipes using Russian garlic (below) are real vampire busters, and they taste good too!

Jackie’s Vampire Buster


olive oil, enough to cover bottom of pan 1 bulb giant Russian garlic, cloves separated and peeled 1 litre chicken stock


Heat the olive oil in a frying pan. Peel the garlic cloves and add them to the pan. Saute on a medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Add enough chicken stock to cover the garlic. Turn down the heat and simmer until the stock has almost evaporated and the cloves are tender. Serve as a side dish with the remaining stock drizzled over the garlic.

Roast garlic

Place 1 whole bulb of Russian garlic into the roasting pan when roasting a chicken. The chicken and garlic will cook together and they’ll be ready to serve at the same time. Remove the papery skins from the garlic cloves before serving. You’ll also have delicious, garlic-flavoured chicken gravy as an added bonus!

Further information

Russian garlic is available from:
All Rare Herbs
Phone: (07) 5446 9243
Note: Alliums cannot be sent to Western Australia.