Harvest of the Month: Alliums

Nora Duncheva inspects a sprouted onion. — Photo courtesy of Emily Duncker

This February, Island Grown Schools celebrates the Allium family as its Harvest of the Month. These bulbing vegetables have layers of often papery skin, are prized for their anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties, and add essential flavor to cooking. Alliums include garlic, onions, leeks, and chives.

Fresh alliums, including leeks and chives, are harvested from mid-summer through fall, while garlic, shallots, and onions are harvested in late summer, then cured and stored for winter. Though alliums in storage begin to sprout green leaves at this time of the year, they are still as flavorful as when they were first harvested, and such a treat to enjoy in the winter.

This February, add some flavor to your cooking, and find new ways to incorporate alliums in your dishes. Try roasting peeled cloves of garlic covered in olive oil in an oven-proof dish until tender. Use the flavor-infused oil to drizzle on salads, and use the roasted garlic cloves in hummus, soups, or as a snack on bread. Find other ways to flavor your cooking with alliums from caramelized onions, shaved shallot, or braised leeks.

Roasted Garlic

(Recipe inspired by Nicole Cabot, IGS Coordinator for the West Tisbury School.)


  • Two full bulbs garlic
  • Olive oil to cover


  1. Parents: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Kids: pull each clove of garlic away from the bulb. Peel each clove of garlic.
  3. Put peeled garlic cloves into an oven-proof container, cover with olive oil, and place lid on. If you don’t have a tight-fitting lid, you can cover with aluminum foil.
  4. Bake in oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until garlic cloves are a light golden brown and soft.

You can always buy pre-peeled garlic at the grocery store, which makes this cooking project even easier. Store cloves and oil in an easy to reach container in the fridge to add to everything.