I love garlic.
Think of all the ways you eat garlic. Garlic salt, powder, in sauces, marinades & salad dressings. If you’re anything like me you put it in almost every dish!
That said, the average American consumes more than 2 pounds per year….
However most of the garlic the average American eats is not American garlic…
Did you know garlic is another powerful super-food?
We love our superfoods at Oak Spring!
Garlic has been used around the world for centuries for cooking and for its effective medicinal properties.
Garlic is high in Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, and many other trace minerals that are vital for healthy immune function.
The compound found in garlic, allicin, is what gives it its flavor & antioxidant punch.
In addition, garlic has been shown to reduce high blood pressure, reduce LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol, improve the immune system, remove parasites from the GI tract, and work as a natural antibiotic in all areas of the body.
I use it all the time minced in salad dressings, soups & chili, chopped in tomato sauce, salsa & marinades, and I love roasting whole cloves in my veggie sheet pan meals and coating pork butts and roaster chickens with a thick garlic & herb paste.
Years ago, when I was shopping for garlic in the winter, I noticed that most garlic in the grocery store was coming from China.
Knowing about other countries’ agricultural practices and soil pollution, I became concerned.
Stay Away from Chinese garlic
Other countries produce about 75 percent of the world’s supply of garlic. In 2021, the US imported approximately 225 million pounds of garlic, both fresh and dried.
It is estimated that the FDA catches about 2 percent of imported hazardous produce before it makes its way into the USA.
Some countries have virtually no regulations on the use of toxic pesticides and fertilizers used in farming. If that isn’t scary enough, the food handling safety, sanitation and hygiene regulations in some countries are even worse.
In the United States, around 80% of Garlic comes from China and most of the rest is California grown. Garlic from China is of questionable safety: China uses many pesticides illegal to use in the US.
Imported garlic is often grown in sewage water and human sewage is specifically used as a plentiful and cheap fertilizer.
It is then sprayed with chemicals to prevent sprouting, bleached with chlorine to make it look white, and, by law, fumigated with methyl bromide, according to Henry Bell of the Australian Garlic Industry Association.
How can I tell the difference between US grown garlic and imported Chinese grown garlic?
This is a picture of garlic grown in the US. It has roots:
Identify Imported Garlic:
Lack of roots. It is required by the FDA that all roots be removed from imported produce to prevent soil-borne pathogens from entering the US.
This is not a requirement for US garlic farmers so they often leave the roots attached.
If the bottom of a garlic bulb has a bare, concave surface where roots would naturally be, it is most likely imported. This is a picture of imported garlic…
Lack of soil stains. It is completely natural for garlic to have soil stains. Imported garlic is heavily bleached to remove soil stains and has an unnaturally white color.
Sprouting. Garlic bulbs naturally sprout and will sometimes grow little green shoots. Again, the heavy bleaching of imported garlic will kill the garlic and prevent this from occurring. If there are shoots coming from the top of the bulb, you are good to go.
Weight. Imported garlic contains more water so by the time it makes it to US supermarkets much of the water has evaporated making it much lighter and less firm than US garlic.
Taste. Imported garlic has a more metallic and bitter taste due to a lower concentration of allicin and higher concentration of chemicals and heavy metals.
Buy American Grown, Better Yet, Buy Local Garlic
Better yet buy Oak Spring Farm garlic.
Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food.
One of our big Fall crops to plant is garlic.
Our shipment of Certified Organic garlic just arrived from Fraser Farms in New York. We unboxed it to let it breath and will break apart all the heads into cloves over the next few weeks.
We usually plant our garlic the beginning of November and we have already started prepping the beds.
It will get mulched and weeded, covered in the spring to keep the Allim Leaf Miner from ruining it and then harvested around the fourth of July.
And don’t forget the delicious garlic scape bonus in early to mid June!.
All in all we feel REALLY good about growing garlic for you.
Much of the garlic we grow goes to our CSA.
When you’re a part of Community Supported Agriculture -CSA- you have access to farm fresh food and you can know your farmer.
It is becoming increasingly important to know where your food comes from.
We’re here to help and we can’t do it without you!
RECIPE for Roasted garlic-it’s so easy!
Rub a whole head of garlic with olive oil, wrap it in aluminum foil and roast it in the oven (a toaster oven works great) at 350F for about 30-40 minutes. Easily squeeze out the garlic ‘paste’ from the cloves.
Roasted garlic is great in sauces when you want a milder garlic flavor with delicious depth.
Roasted garlic is great in hummus or on it’s own pureed with olive oil and salt as a super chic bread spread 😉