Wanted: Garlic

AKA: Allium Sativum, Galick, Knoblauch, ajo, ail, aglio, thum, suen tau, suan tau. Knoflook, sir, garleag, shum, lasun, ninniku, alho, chesnok, bawang, poondoo, gratiem, katiem, sarmisak, lehsun, toi, spear leek (ye olde English term), stinking rose (olde latin term), Bronx vanilla, halitosis, Italian perfume

  1. Culinary
  2. Consumption
  3. Digestive Aide
  4. Appetite Inducer
  5. Antioxidant
  6. Improves Cardiovascular health
  7. Improves immune system


Allium Sativum (garlic) belongs to the Alliaceae (onion) family and shares many properties of its close relatives: onions, leeks, chives, and shallots. Like its cousins, the most useful part of garlic is its bulb which is called a head of garlic. The garlic head is covered with a dry paper like film and is dived up into numerous fleshy sections called cloves.  The fleshy cloves have a number of uses the most obvious one being that they can be eaten both raw and cooked. Cloves can also be useful as topical applications for numerous afflictions and also serve as the seeds for future garlic crops.

The garlic that we like to but at the supermarket has its origins in South Western Asia where it was first cultivated. In fact, while garlic has made it around the whole wide world, some 70% of all the garlic in the world still comes from China, where it all started in the first place. While this is the most common type of garlic, there are actually more than 300 different varieties of garlic found throughout the world. American garlic has a strong flavor along with a white and papery skin, while Italian garlic has a more pinkish skin and a milder flavor. One famous type of garlic called elephant garlic is not really even garlic but a leek.
Picking good garlic

When choosing garlic at the supermarket, be sure to pick heads that are firm to the touch without any noticeable nicks. Also be sure to check for any dark or powdery patches lurking under the skin. This is an indication of mold that will eventually spoil the flesh of the cloves. At home, keeping garlic somewhere where it will not get banged around. Damaging the cloves will cause it to release the beneficial sulphides and consequently cause it to stink before its time. The fresher the garlic, the harder it is to peel, so if you are not up to that challenge, let the garlic sit a while. As it ages, it will shrivel in its skin thus becoming easier to peel.

Other forms of garlic

While the garlic clove along with the garlic head are the most common forms of  garlic out there. Garlic can also come in the form of a powder, an extract, even a type of salt. For those who wish to only benefit from garlic and not walk around smelling like one, a garlic pill is also available.

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