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Where Does Garlic Come From

Garlic is a species of edible plant that is closely related to onions, shallots, leeks and chives. The plant grows to about 60 cm (2 ft) high and the edible portion is actually the bulbous portion that grows underground. Garlic has many culinary uses and it is used in cuisines all over the world. It is popular as a strong flavoring and seasoning. It also has many historical and medicinal uses and is being studied for potential health benefits. There are two subspecies of garlic and hundreds of different varieties within these subspecies. Let’s find out where garlic originated from and where it is grown today.

Where did garlic originate from?
Multiple cloves of garlic in a grocery store.
There is much debate about the origin of garlic because scientists have had difficulty finding out which species is the wild ancestor of modern garlic. However, most experts believe that it is a descendant of the wild species Allium longicuspis, which can be found growing wild through central and southwestern Asia. It is therefore believed that garlic originated in central Asia and it was spread from here to the rest of the world.

Where is garlic grown today?
Garlic is a hardy plant that can be grown year round in mild climates. However, it can also be grown in other conditions at certain times of the year. This means that garlic can be grown on every continent (apart from Antartica). The largest producer of garlic is China, which produces over 13.5 million metric tons of the vegetable each year. This is more than 70% of the worldwide production of garlic! Other relatively large producers include India, South Korea, Egypt, Russia, Myanmar, Ethiopia and the United States.

Did you know?
Garlic is grown in every U.S. state apart from Alaska! However, most of the garlic grown in the country comes from Gilroy, California. This city is known as the “garlic capital of the world,” despite the fact that this statement is not totally accurate!

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