While first discovered wild in central Asia, European immigrants brought it to the Americas for cultivation in the 18th and 19th century, says Louis Hymel, director of marketing at Spice World Inc., Orlando, Fla. Most commercial garlic production in the U.S. is centered in California.
Early California garlic was often grown for dehydrating plants, as there were two based in Gilroy, says Patsy Ross, vice president of marketing for Christopher Ranch.
“Some people say garlic was grown in California by Italian immigrants for their own use,” she says. “Certainly it was difficult to find fresh garlic in the grocery stores until the 1960s.”
Nowadays, consumers can find bulk, boxed, bagged, peeled, crushed, squeezable and spreadable garlic at their local supermarket, but did you know…
For whole bulbs, a tractor cuts the roots, but the rest of a garlic harvest is done by hand. Workers pull bulbs and lay them out to dry before trimming.
For value-added garlic, Christopher Ranch uses air to peel cloves before packing.
One to two garlic cloves a day typically lowers cholesterol and prevents LDL cholesterol from oxidizing.
Black garlic is made by caramelizing fresh garlic over the course of a few weeks.
Fresh garlic products can be cold-stored and available, depending on crop conditions, for nearly 12 months.
Garlic is known to boost the immune system and promote cardio-vascular activity, and it has a soothing effect on the respiratory system.
An old wives' tale says you can rub a garlic clove on your foot and taste it in your mouth.
According to a survey of 1,000 Americans, there's no such thing as "too much garlic."
Pucker up: Only 5% of Americans surveyed said they would avoid kissing someone with garlic breath.
The Top 5 Favorite Garlicky Foods:
1. Garlic Bread
2. Garlic Chicken
3. Garlicky pasta
4. Garlic Shrimp
5. Garlic Butter