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
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.
|Serving Size (3.0g)|
|Amounts Per Serving||% Daily Value|
|Calories from Fat 0|
|Total Fat 0g||0%|
|Saturated Fat 0g||0%|
|Total Carbohydrate 1g||0%|
| Dietary Fiber0g||0%|
| Sugars 0g|
|* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie
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.
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
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