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Chinese garlic bulbs are round with 8-10 cloves centered around a central stalk. The golf ball sized bulb's outer wrappings are thin and parchment-like and are white with some violet streaks. The cloves are uniform crescents and can range in color from light gold to white. Chinese garlic is creamy, spicy, and pungent.
Chinese garlic is available year-round.
Chinese garlic, originally classified as a sub-species of hardneck garlic known as Allium Sativum var. pekinense, has since been reclassified in modern times to a form of common garlic, Allium Sativum var. ophioscrodom. Also known as Ta Suan, the majority of common garlic consumed in the United States comes from China.
Chinese garlic is an excellent source of manganese, vitamin C, and vitamin B6. It also contains allicin which is responsible not only for the potent aroma but has antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties.
Chinese garlic is best suited for cooked applications such as roasting, sautéing, and baking because it will showcase the intense heat and depth of the garlic. Stir fries are a favorite dish to use Chinese garlic, and it can be used in any recipe that calls for common garlic. Chinese garlic can also be used raw, and the cloves can be sliced, crushed, or utilized whole. Keep in mind that crushing garlic cloves will release more pungent oils than cutting or using whole. Pair Chinese garlic with bold and spicy flavors and rich ingredients that can work in harmony with its intense flavor. Chiles, ginger, citrus, cream, soy sauce, starches, and grilled and roasted meats are all favorable pairings for Chinese garlic. Chinese garlic will keep up to four months when stored in a cool, and dry place away from direct sunlight.
In Western culture, garlic is a culinary staple, but in Eastern culture, its medicinal properties are favored. In China, garlic has thousands of years of history of medicinal use for a wide variety of conditions and is still considered by some a cure-all. In Chinese medicine, garlic has been used to aid in symptoms of bronchitis, and respiratory problems, gastrointestinal problems, flatulence, boils, dysentery, cramps, high blood pressure, diabetes and has been used externally to help with arthritis and muscle pain.
Garlic has been cultivated in China since pre-recorded history. It has experienced many states of evolution due to the ever-changing elements of the topography it is grown in. Now considered by many to be a form of common garlic, Chinese garlic is widely available in Asia, Europe, and the United States.
Recipes that include Chinese Garlic. One is easiest, three is harder.