Garlic has been cultivated in Central Asia for thousands of years.
As early as 2000 BC, the Chinese cooked with it and now garlic is used world-wide. It is a member of the allium family that also includes onions, chives, shallots, spring onions and leeks.
The most common varieties of garlic contain 10 cloves (or segments) with white skin. Other varieties have pink or purple skin and larger cloves. As a rule, the smaller the clove, the stronger the taste.
New Zealand garlic rates extremely well in terms of taste and overall quality when compared to imported lines. The taste is stronger; generally one bulb of New Zealand garlic is as strong as three imported bulbs. Being grown close to its market, New Zealand garlic is not cool stored – a process that dehydrates the bulbs causing them to lose their juiciness.
The majority of New Zealand garlic is grown in the Marlborough region from January to November. The combination of a hard winter followed by a long dry summer suits garlic growing perfectly resulting in excellent quality. New Zealand garlic is distinctively fresh and juicy with a wonderful pungency contained within clean white bulbs. Marlborough garlic is never cool-stored but will keep for up to 11 months in a cool, dark, well ventilated place. Pukekohe garlic is available in December.
What to look for
Look for firm well-shaped cloves. Buy in small amounts and break off the cloves only when needed. Garlic dries out once detached. New Zealand garlic will still have roots - if a bulb is bald, with no roots, then it is imported. Each New Zealand grown bulb of garlic has had its roots trimmed, one at a time. Garlic is never labelled since it sheds its skin if a label is applied to it.
Keep in a cool dry place away from the sunlight. Avoid placing in plastic bags, or storing in the refrigerator or everything in the refrigerator will end up tasting of garlic. Avoid storing next to ginger as ginger dehydrates garlic.
How to prepare
Separate cloves from bulbs, remove papery skin unless roasting when skin can be left on. Cut bulbs in half crosswise and brush with oil to roast. To remove skin, press the clove under the flat side of a knife and the skin will come off easily. Chop the garlic very finely or crush it with the side of a knife. Alternatively, use a garlic crusher.
Ways to eat
Garlic can be eaten raw or cooked. Raw garlic produces a strong, pungent flavour while cooking gives a more mellow flavour. The longer garlic is cooked, the milder and sweeter the flavour. It's usually used in small amounts, 2-3 cloves to a dish. Garlic burns easily, so take care when frying or sautéing. It can be used in vegetable dishes, meats, soups, dips, stir fries, braises and stews. Add whole unpeeled cloves into a roasting pan with meat or vegetables. Cut a whole head in half horizontally and roast in a little olive oil. When cooked, serve as it is, or squeeze the roasted flesh out and serve on crostini or fresh bread.
Roast, braise, stew, stir fry.
|Serving size: 1 clove - 3g|
|Fat, total (g)||trace||0%||0.6|
|- saturated (g)||trace||0%||0.1|
|- sugars (g)||trace||0%||1.6|
|Dietary fibre (g)||0.5||2%||16.9|
|Vitamin B6 (mg)||0.01||0.6% RDI*||0.38|
|Vitamin C (mg)||0.51||1% RDI*||17|
|Thiamin (mg)||trace||0% RDI*||trace|
|Zinc (mg)||trace||0% RDI*||1|
|Niacin (mg)||trace||0% RDI*||2|
Percentage Daily Intakes are based on an average adult diet of 8700 kJ
Source: The Concise New Zealand Food Composition Tables, 10th Edition, Plant & Food Research - 2014
For most people garlic is eaten only in small quantities. Garlic contributes to the flavour of many dishes rather than making a nutritional contribution.
Display next to onions, potatoes, and other vegetables that do not require refrigeration. Keep well ventilated. Use the QR code on labels.
Store at 0ºC with a relative humidity of 65-70%. If stored this way it will keep for 6-7 months. Short term holding is best in a cool, dark, well ventilated place.
Purchase garlic with the New Zealand GAP logo.
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