Garlic, allium sativum, originated in Asia and was gradually migrated to west, first to the Mediterranean basin, and then eventually to Europe and to the Americas at the beginning of the 16th century.
The Talmud mentions garlic and accepts it as kosher for cooking. Hippocrates, Galen, Pliny the Elder and Pioscarides all mention garlic in their writings. Greek and Roman soldier were regularly served dishes that contained garlic.
In China the first written record of garlic use in gastronomy occurred in 510 A.D., although now the use and production of garlic in China is widespread.
From the very beginning, garlic was recognized for its smell, flavour and medicinal properties. It is a vegetable, but some people regard garlic as an herb, others treat powdered garlic as spice and yet others purchase it in form of capsules as medicine. Garlic contains allicin, an antibiotic and blood thinner.
Scientists recognize garlic as a powerful food promoting good heath mainly for its sulphur compounds (allyl methyl sulfide aka AMS), but sophisticated individuals shun it. For this reason French chefs use garlic cloves in their frying oil or butter just to flavour it, and then discard the offending garlic.
There are several strains of garlic i.e Baba Franchuk’s, Persian Star, China Rose, Northern Quebec, Tibetan, and others.
Ukrainian garlic is `hot`, whereas Korean-grown is mild, and many connoisseurs claim Russian garlic to taste best.
Garlic tastes stronger when grown in cold regions like Russia, Ontario in Canada, and Ukraine. Raw garlic tastes stronger than cooked garlic. You can bake a whole garlic and obtain a mild, creamy, pulp what can be used in many recipes.
If you like to taste of shallot but find it too expensive you can peel a garlic clove and wash it with hot water to obtain an ingredient of similar taste.
This may provide a supcon of garlic flavour but its medicinal properties remain questionable in such treatment.
contains iron, zinc, copper, manganese, calcium and vitamins.
Chinese chefs make extensive use of garlic and much of it is imported from China, although substantial quantities grow in the Americas.
Chinese garlic is inexpensive because it is heavily subsidized and undermines local production in high-wage jurisdictions. Chinese garlic has a mild taste, as does the `giant` Chilean.
is also available peeled or chopped or minced or creamed and preserved in oil, or powdered, but fresh garlic remains unsurpassed in its taste. The efficacy of garlic capsules, popular in Germany, has been often questioned and some scientists believe the only way it can be beneficial is when used fresh and in moderation.
Most important garlic producing countries:
China 12 million tons
India 645 000 tons