I love the smell of cooking garlic and try to grow it in my garden every winter. This year some critter enjoyed a lot of it before me, but there is still quite a bit left growing.
One of my friends on FB posted that we are now importing more garlic from China, so I was interested in the difference between the two. First of all it is quite easy to identify the imported garlic, as the root has to be cut off to meet exportation law.
Or here is another photo:
Garlic is a nutritious vegetable that makes for a savory addition to many recipes. Yet new information has come to light that’ll probably change the way you buy and eat it.
You’d think your produce is grown in nearby farms, right? That could be wrong! You could very well be eating something that traveled halfway around the world to get to your grocery basket—and if you’re not careful, it may cause serious health risks.
In our culture, 80% of the garlic comes from China. In 2014, the United States imported over 138 million pounds of Chinese garlic, and each year the trend appears to grow. Since you’ve likely been eating this garlic for so long, you may not think it’s a problem—until you learn it’s often covered in bleach and pesticides.
Having driven by Gilroy and smelling it there, if you have been in the area you might assume all your American garlic comes from that area in California: Gilroy- “the garlic capital of the world”). Considering it was once the world’s largest supplier of garlic, that statement might’ve been true. That’s changed in the past few years.
In the US, it’s become cheaper and easier to import garlic from places like China. The unfortunate side of this is that China isn’t as stringent with its safety regulations. Reports run rampant of garlic bleached in chlorine, fumigated in pesticides, grown in untreated sewage water, and even contaminated with lead. If you have ever been to China, that would not be a surprise to you.
The bleach is used to cover up dirt spots, even though they’re perfectly natural. According to the Australian Garlic Industry Association‘s Henry Bell, while bleaching kills insects, prevents sprouting, and helps whiten the bulb, it’s fumigated with a dangerous toxin called methyl bromide. When taken in high doses, methyl bromide can cause central nervous system and respiratory problems. According to the UN, it’s 60 times more dangerous than chlorine—so the lower cost is not worth the risk. Luckily, you can easily tell the difference between Chinese and American garlic as I displayed in the photos above.
- Look for the roots. Chinese importers have to remove the roots to abide by regulations, but American farmers have no such rule, and often leave them attached.
- Weigh it. Chinese garlic contains more water, so it’s lighter. It’s actually 37% solid, compared to the American 42%. To test it, give it a squeeze: a firmer bulb is the way to go!
Taste it. Chefs swear that garlic from China has a bit of a metallic taste, while American bulbs are more flavorful. American garlic contains more allicin, which is the dominant factor in determining that distinct taste and smell we all love. CA garlic routinely scores a higher BRIX scale rating (sugar content)
Fun fact: garlic from China contains 3500 ppm (parts per million) of allicin, while American garlic has 4400 ppm.
It may cost a bit more, sure, but buying American garlic is safer and well worth it. If nothing else, it simply tastes better!
China is putting California garlic growers out of business, and YOU can stop it. Less than ten years ago, all of our garlic was grown in this country, primarily in CA. Now less than 40% is grown here and most of it (60%) is coming from China.
The roots being removed is required by the Ag Dept. to prevent soil-borne plant diseases from entering our country. If the roots are still there it is California garlic. The Garlic Growers Assoc. says not one single US grower cleans out the root end.
Share this important information with your friends!
Some, but not all information found on “Boredom Therapy”.