Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Food & Recipes

Font Size

Vegetable of the Month: Garlic

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 0g0%
Saturated Fat 0g0%
Sodium 0mg0%
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Total Carbohydrate 1g0%
  Dietary Fiber0g0%
  Sugars 0g
Protein 0g
Vitamin A0%
Vitamin C2%
Calcium0%
Iron0%
* 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.

Availability, Selection, and Storage

Garlic is available year-round frozen or fresh. When buying fresh garlic, choose from plump, dry heads that feel firm. Avoid soft, mushy or shriveled cloves. American garlic should be white to off-white. Garlic should be stored in a cool, dark place (though not a refrigerator) and can be kept for several weeks. Many people use small clay garlic holders to keep their garlic as fresh as possible. Cloves that have sprouted can still be used but they will not be as strong in flavor as fresher cloves. The sprouts themselves can be cut up like scallions and chives and used in dish

WebMD Public Information from the CDC

Today on WebMD

Four spoons with mustards
What condiments are made of and how much to use.
salmon and spinach
How to get what you need.
 
grilled veggies
Easy ideas for dinner tonight.
Greek Salad
Health benefits, what you can eat and more.
 

WebMD Recipe Finder

Browse our collection of healthy, delicious recipes, from WebMD and Eating Well magazine.



bread
Recipes
soup
Recipes
 
roasted chicken
Recipes
Flaxseed added fiber
Video
 
vegetarian sandwich
Recipes
fresh vegetables
Recipes
 
smoothie
fitArticle
Foods To Boost Mens Heath Slideshow
Slideshow