Friday, 15 May 2009


Allium sativum L., commonly known as GARLIC, is a species in the onion family Alliaceae. Its close relatives include the onion, shallot, leek, and chive. GARLIC has been used throughout recorded history for both culinary and medicinal purposes. It has a pungent, spicy flavor that mellows and sweetens with cooking. A bulb of GARLIC, the most commonly used part of the plant, is divided into numerous fleshy sections called cloves. Single clove GARLIC (also called Pearl garlic or Solo garlic) also exists; it originates in the Yunnan province of China. The leaves, stems, and flowers (bulbils) on the head are also edible and are most often consumed while immature and still tender.

The word GARLIC comes from Old English garleac, meaning "spear leek." Dating back over 6,000 years, it is said to be native to Central Asia. GARLIC has been cultivated for so long that it is impossible to determine precisely its place of origin.

GARLIC is recorded in Egypt from the earliest times and was eaten by the builders of the Pyramids. Egyptians worshipped GARLIC and placed clay models of GARLIC bulbs in the tomb of Tutankhamen. GARLIC was so highly-prized then that it was even used as currency! According to an Arab legend, GARLIC grew from the Devil's footprint as he left Eden. Folklore holds that GARLIC repelled vampires, protected against the Evil Eye, and warded off jealous nymphs said to terrorize pregnant women and engaged maidens. The most famous of all GARLIC folklore is its association with vampires, popularised in the West by Bram Stoker in the classic gothic novel Dracula.

GARLIC is grown globally, but China is by far the largest producer of GARLIC, with approximately 10.5 billion kilograms (23 billion pounds) annually, accounting for over 77 per cent of world output. India (4.1 per cent) and South Korea (2 per cent) follow, with Russia (1.6 per cent) in fourth place and the United States in fifth place (1.4 per cent). This leaves 16 per cent of global GARLIC production in countries that each produces less than 2 per cent of global output.

Culinary uses and storage

GARLIC is widely used around the world for its pungent flavor as a seasoning or condiment. It is a fundamental component in many or most dishes of various regions, including eastern Asia, south Asia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, northern Africa, southern Europe, and parts of South and Central America. The flavour varies in intensity and aroma with the different cooking methods. It is often paired with onion, tomato or ginger.

When buying GARLIC, make sure the heads are dry with plenty of paper covering. If you can see green shoots then the GARLIC is probably too old or wasn't dried properly. GARLIC that is too old will crumple under the slightest pressure from the fingers. It is traditionally hung; soft neck varieties are often braided in strands, called "plaits" or grappes. Keep heads of GARLIC in a cool dry atmosphere, to keep it dormant (so that it does not sprout). Processed GARLIC must be kept in airtight containers.

Other Names

German: Knoblauch
Italian: aglio, capo d'aglio (clove)
Spanish: ajo
Arabic: toom
Burmese: chyet-thon-phew
Chinese: suen tau
Hindi/Punjabi: lassan, lassoon, lusson
Indonesian/Malay: bawang puteh or bawang putih
Japanese: ninniku

Source: Wikipedia, About.Com and The Epicentre

No comments: