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Vegetable of the Month: Garlic

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For years garlic has been the topic of much folklore. In ancient times, its pungent odor was believed to supply strength and courage to those who ate it. Garlic has been used for numerous things including embalming, warding off evil spirits, and curing everything from the common cold to tuberculosis and broken bones.

Even in modern times, garlic is still being promoted as a health food with medicinal properties. Though garlic is a nutritious food, many of the claims surrounding it are not backed up by research.

Garlic
Serving Size (3.0g)
Amounts Per Serving % Daily Value
Calories 5
Calories from Fat 0
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Sodium 0mg 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 1g 0%
  Dietary Fiber0g 0%
  Sugars 0g
Protein 0g
Vitamin A 0%
Vitamin C 2%
Calcium 0%
Iron 0%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Garlic is a member of the Allium genus and classified as Allium sativa. The garlic bulb is covered with a loose, white, crackly outer skin and comprised of individual sections called cloves. Each clove is covered in a white sheath.

Garlic is very popular in the Middle East and Mediterranean countries, India and China. In America, 250 million pounds of garlic are consumed per year and its use is growing.

Garlic is characterized by its strong flavor and smell, stemming from its sulfur compounds. It makes a great flavoring agent for a variety of dishes.

Varieties

There are approximately 300 varieties of garlic grown throughout the world. In the United States about 90% of the garlic is grown in California and most comes in two types, early and late.

Early garlic is white or off-white in color and harvested in mid-summer. Late garlic is off-white on the outside

American: white-skinned with a strong flavor.

Chileno: a reddish-colored, sharp tasting garlic grown in Mexico

Elephant: Not a true garlic, but a relative of the leek; its flavor is very mild and it is characterized by larger heads.

Green Garlic: Young garlic before it starts forming cloves. Green garlic looks like a baby leek with a long green top and small white bulb. Its flavor is much more mild than that of mature garlic.

Italian: Mauve in color with a somewhat milder flavor.

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