Garlic is used as a flavoring enhancer for meat, fish, poultry, vegetable, legumes, rice, pasta and casserole dishes liberally in a variety of recipes. This amazing ingredient has played an important role in the field of medicine and culinary areas respectively throughout history.
Probably very few of you have asked themselves about the origin of the garlic they consume. Is there a way for us to determine whether or not the garlic we are consuming is home grown, or is imported, or whether there is a difference between American and Chinese garlic?
Facts say that USA imports 138 million pounds of garlic from China. The situation has changed a lot, since 15 years ago, California produced almost all of the garlic sold in the United States., and now China produces more than half of the garlic sold in the United States.
Chinese garlic is bleached. According to Henry Bell of the Australian Garlic Industry Association, garlic from China is sprayed with chemicals to stop sprouting, to whiten garlic, and to kill insects and plant matter. He also reports that garlic is grown in untreated sewage, “Bell also calls into question some growing practices in China. “I know for a fact that some garlic growers over there use raw human sewage to fertilise their crops, and I don’t believe the Australian quarantine regulations are strict enough in terms of bacteria testing on imported produce,” he says. “I also challenge the effectiveness of the Chinese methyl bromide fumigation processes.”
– Chinese garlic uses methyl bromide as a form of fumigation. Methyl bromide is a toxic substance which is used to protect the plants from any bugs and insects. If used in large amount, this chemical can cause serious health problems in the respiratory and central nervous system and in some worst cases, it can even cause death.
– Chinese garlic is also contaminated with lead, sulfites and other unsafe compounds.
– Chinese garlic may be treated with growth inhibitors and subjected to cold temperatures, as well as over-storage. Over storage is particularly problematic as levels of allicin, one of the major constituents in garlic responsible for its health benefits, start to decline over time.
Thankfully, you can quickly spot the distinction between California-grown fresh garlic and imported garlic.
Here’s the best ways to identify a California-grown bulb:
– American garlic has a few of the roots left on the bottom.
– American garlic is heavier than imported garlic.
– American garlic is a lot more tasty.