Most Of The World's Garlic Comes From This Country

Calling all garlic lovers! How well do you really know your garlic? Although there are many varieties, Hello Homestead explains that garlic usually falls into one of two groups: hard neck (robust with a woody center stalk) and soft neck (mild without a stalk). Whether used raw to add a pungent kick or cooked to an earthy sweetness, garlic has become a pantry staple across the globe, and there's one country in particular to thank for its mass production.

Primarily used as a food source, garlic was also embraced throughout history because it was thought to have healing properties. Those ideas turned out to be pretty accurate as Oregon State University shares that a compound called allicin is responsible for garlic's antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and even anticancer properties. Interestingly, allicin is also what gives garlic its strong aroma!

Also referred to by its scientific name, allium sativum, the University of Missouri reports that garlic dates back over 7,000 years ago to parts of central Asia. While the passage of time has made the crop accessible globally, garlic continues to be produced primarily in Asia, specifically in the east.

China spearheads garlic production

According to Tridge, China produces about 80% of the world's garlic. Roughly 21 million tonnes of garlic were produced in 2020 in order to accommodate increasing demand, resulting from the pandemic which saw a shift towards home cooking and an interest in garlic's health benefits, reports Mordor Intelligence.

Given its mass production, Chinese garlic has actually become a tender topic in recent years as imports have disrupted domestic production. In fact, USA Today notes that a whopping 60% of garlic is imported from China, while a mere 40% is grown in the US. Despite pressure to support local, the reasonable price point of imported garlic (coupled with demand) is tough to ignore.

Regardless of where your garlic comes from, picking the freshest bulb is imperative. Although you should look for firm garlic bulbs that are sprout-free, Bon Appétit notes that the presence of roots and stalks actually indicate freshness — vampires beware!