Garlic is a species of bulbous flowering plant. Its close relatives include the onion, shallot, leek, chive, Welsh onion and Chinese onionGarlic:
- It is native to South Asia, Central Asia and northeastern Iran.
- It has long been used as a seasoning worldwide, with a history of several thousand years of human consumption and use. It was known to ancient Egyptians.
- It has been used as both a food flavoring and a traditional medicine.
- The word garlic derives from Old English, garlēac, meaning gar (spear) and leek, as a 'spear-shaped leek'.
GarlicChina produces 76% of the world's supply of garlic.
Garlic is a perennial flowering plant growing from a bulb.
- It has a tall, erect flowering stem that grows up to 3 feet.
- The leaf blade is flat, linear, solid, and approximately 1/2 inch to an inch wide.
- The plant may produce pink to purple flowers from July to September in the Northern Hemisphere.
- The bulb is odoriferous and contains outer layers of thin sheathing leaves surrounding an inner sheath that encloses the clove.
- Often the bulb contains 10 to 20 cloves that are asymmetric in shape, except for those closest to the center.
- If garlic is planted at the proper time and depth, it can be grown as far north as Alaska.
- It produces hermaphrodite flowers.
- It is pollinated by bees, butterflies, moths, and other insects.
GarlicGarlic is easy to grow and can be grown year-round in mild climates.
Garlic is easy to grow and can be grown year-round in mild climates by planting individual cloves in the ground.
- In colder climates, cloves are best planted about six weeks before the soil freezes.
- The goal is to have the bulbs produce only roots and no shoots above the ground.
- Harvest is in late spring or early summer.
- Garlic plants can be grown closely together, leaving enough space for the bulbs to mature, and are easily grown in containers of sufficient depth
- Garlic does well in loose, dry, well-drained soils in sunny locations, and is hardy throughout USDA climate zones 4–9.
- When selecting garlic for planting, it is important to pick large bulbs from which to separate cloves.
- Large cloves, along with proper spacing in the planting bed, will also increase bulb size.
- Garlic plants prefer to grow in a soil with a high organic material content, but are capable of growing in a wide range of soil conditions and pH levels.
There are different varieties of garlic, most notably split into the subspecies of hardneck garlic and softneck garlic. The latitude where the garlic is grown affects the choice of type, as garlic can be day-length sensitive. Hardneck garlic is generally grown in cooler climates and produces relatively large cloves, whereas softneck garlic is generally grown closer to the equator and produces small, tightly packed cloves.
Garlic scapes are removed to focus all the garlic's energy into bulb growth. The scapes can be eaten raw or cooked.
Garlic has been used for traditional medicine in diverse cultures such as in Egypt, Japan, China, Rome, and Greece.
Garlic is widely used around the world for its pungent flavor as a seasoning or condiment.
The garlic plant's bulb is the most commonly used part of the plant. With the exception of the single clove types, garlic bulbs are normally divided into numerous fleshy sections called cloves. Garlic cloves are used for consumption (raw or cooked) or for medicinal purposes.GarlicOther parts of the garlic plant are also edible. The leaves and flowers (bulbils) on the head (spathe) are sometimes eaten. They are milder in flavor than the bulbs, and are most often consumed while immature and still tender.
In the typical serving size of 1–3 cloves (3–9 grams), garlic provides no significant nutritional value, with the content of all essential nutrients below 10% of the Daily Value. Per 100 grams, garlic contains several nutrients in rich amounts (20% or more of the DV), including vitamins B6 and C, and the dietary minerals manganese and phosphorus. Per 100 gram serving, garlic is also a moderate source (10–19% DV) of certain B vitamins, including thiamin and pantothenic acid, as well as the dietary minerals calcium, iron, and zinc.
The composition of raw garlic is 59% water, 33% carbohydrates, 6% protein, 2% dietary fiber, and less than 1% fat.
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