With a complex history in folklore, supernatural rituals, herbal medicine, and culinary uses, garlic is a compelling, slightly mysterious, and highly esteemed crop. From magical rituals meant to ward off evil, to offerings made to the gods, and herbal potions concocted to heal a range of ailments, this plant is a long-studied and revered commodity across continents.
Today, garlic is enjoyed in its fresh form and as a dried spice, firmly holding a prominent position in the culinary world. In this blog, we’re diving into the history, origins, and common uses of this widely celebrated crop.
Garlic has a longstanding presence that spans both the Old World and the New World, and is one of the oldest known horticultural crops to date. Appearing in 5,000-year-old texts, this plant has earned its rich and fascinating history.
Similar to many ancient spices, garlic was known throughout the ancient world for its believed medicinal and magical properties, and was even traded as currency. This plant is so prominent throughout history that it was mentioned in ancient texts, including the Torah. In the Talmud, it was even praised for its various health benefits.
Romans believed garlic possessed magical powers, and made it a food staple in the Roman Army. Soldiers would chew a clove before battle to promote courage and endurance. They would also eat it to protect against epidemic diseases.
Today, garlic is revered as a superfood and it’s still used for its potent flavor and nutritional benefits around the world.
The flavor of garlic is truly unique. It is distinctively aromatic, pungent, and flavorful with a slightly spicy, warm quality. But not all varieties are created equal; it’s important to note that the flavor depends on the origin of the plant.
For example, California-grown garlic tends to be more complex with a smooth, mellower flavor. Conversely, the Chinese crops can produce garlic with more of a bite and a higher level of heat.
As you can see, it’s important to know the origins of your product to anticipate its flavor implications. We recommend sampling products and speaking to an expert about your specific needs.
Garlic belongs to the genus Allium, the same family that also includes onions, leeks, shallots, and chives. It is grown underground as a bulbous, white plant with a few thin, straight leaves that shoot up through the soil. The bulb is covered with a thin, membrane-like skin that holds up to 20 cloves.
Plants that are intended to be made into dried spices are the same as those that are harvested for fresh use. However, they are cultivated to have less moisture to ensure a high yield after dehydration.
As a spice, garlic is sold in various forms including powdered, granulated, or minced, and has a tan to light gold color.
Origin / Quality Sourcing
Garlic is cultivated around the world today, but it originated in Western Asia. At Pacific Spice, we source our product from reputable, approved sources in both California and China.
We source from these regions so that we can offer products with a range of flavor profiles (see above) and prices.
- Domestic (California) – This product is known for its high quality and complex, smooth taste which generally comes at a higher price tag.
- Chinese – This product is priced lower but is still great quality. It has a more biting flavor that is preferred in some use cases.
- Premium Chinese – This product is priced between Chinese and Domestic, but has a flavor that more closely resembles domestic.
Pacific Spice is dedicated to producing the highest quality spices. That’s why we source our garlic only from approved vendors that exceed quality standards and meet our strict vendor guidelines. This results in a product that is pure, free of contaminants and adulterants, and a flavorful addition to your favorite dishes.
This spice should always be tightly sealed and stored in a cool, dry, dark place; above ground and away from the wall. When it’s stored properly, garlic can stay fresh and potent for up to one year.
PSC Garlic Products + Uses
Garlic has made a name for itself in the culinary world and is very commonly used to flavor many foods, including meats, sauces, stir fry, and soups. It’s a spice staple in many Asian, European, Middle Eastern, North American, and Latin American dishes.
We sell our products in various dried forms to provide options to best suit your needs. See below for more details.
If you are interested in ordering from PSC, contact us about our garlic products, available in Domestic, Chinese, and Premium Chinese:
- GARLIC POWDER – Fine, powdery texture will add intense flavor to any dish. It’s potent and easy to blend into any liquid base.
- GARLIC GRANULATED – Our ground, free-flowing product releases flavor a bit more slowly, and is a perfect addition to soups, salad dressings, and stews. It’s easy to mix with other spices, making it an ideal choice for spice blends.
- GARLIC MINCED – Small dehydrated bits of garlic can be rehydrated and used like fresh garlic in dishes like stir fry and stews.
- GARLIC SLICED – The slightly-larger slices of dehydrated garlic can be rehydrated and used like fresh garlic. It can be chopped or added to stews, roasted veggies, and spaghetti sauce as a visible ingredient.
Talk to your sales rep today, and we’ll be happy to fill your order!