Garlic, Allium sativum, is from the Genus Allium, and is closely related to the chives, onions, leeks and shallots. Found in practically every type of cuisine, garlic’s popularity seems to be greatest in Central and South American, Chinese, Indian, Mediterranean, Mexican and Southeast Asian cuisine. As any good home chef knows, nothing compares to fresh garlic, but that doesn’t mean that dehydrated garlic shouldn’t play a vital role in your kitchen. In fact, over the last twenty five years, garlic consumption is up over 1,000% – to more than 3.5 lbs. being consumed by each person in the U.S. each year. And of all that consumed garlic, more than 75% of it is in the dehydrated form.
Garlic is classified by botanists under the species Allium Sativum and there are two primary subspecies – hardneck garlic, Allium Sativum variety Ophioscorodon, and softneck garlic Allium Sativum variety Sativum. The hardnecked garlics were the original garlics and the softnecked ones were developed or cultivated over the centuries by growers from the original hardnecks through a process of selective breeding.
Garlic is called Syun tauh (Cantonese), Da suan (Mandarin), Ail or Theriaque des pauvres (French), Knoblauch (German), Skordo (Greek), Aglio (Italian), Alho (portuguese), Sarimsak (Thai) and Ajo (Spanish)