Garlic comes in ‘softneck’ and ‘hardneck’ varieties.
Softneck garlics include: ‘rose du var’, ‘red italian’, ‘aussie white’, ‘silverskin’, ‘chinese pink’, ‘transylvanian’, and many others.
Hardneck garlics: include ‘purple stripe’, ‘porcelain’ , ‘italian red’, ‘italian purple’, ‘monaro purple’,’spanish roja’, ‘russian red’ and many more.
A relative from the onion family is the ‘Giant Russian’, at times referred to as ‘Elephant Garlic’. Technically, this distinctive plant is more closely related to the leek. It is mild in flavor, and can be roasted whole.
Most commonly our customers buy bulbs in 500gm or 1kg boxes. Some retailers will sell cloves, and others will provide tied plaits of garlic – an eye-catching addition to your kitchen.
Be careful when you purchase garlic. Look for bulbs that are firm, with tight skins and are not ‘dried-out’. Also look for brightness or vibrance in colour.
Store your bulbs in a dry place with good ventilation and away from intense light and direct sun. They can then last for up to six months – check www.australiangarlic.net.au as storage times vary significantly between garlic varieties.
When purchasing garlic, it is important to learn about the growing conditions. Not all Australian garlic is chemical free or organic. However, as an industry, we do have a strong commitment to standards and to maintaining a clear distinction between Australian Garlic and imported garlic.
Australian garlic does cost more. But it provides much more in quality, flavour and nutrition.
Here’s the advice of the Australian Garlic Industry Association:
- Chinese garlic food growing standards and regulations are inferior to Australia’s
- All imported garlic must, by Australian quarantine regulations, be fumigated with Methyl Bromide. This is to ensure Australia remains free of the 101 bugs and diseases to be found in China. Methyl bromide is a seriously dangerous broad spectrum, highly toxic, sterility agent.
- As well as being a particularly hazardous chemical for agricultural workers to have to handle, its acceptable consumer safety credentials have been withdrawn in numerous countries, industries and crops over the last couple of decade
- Chinese garlic may be subjected to cold and over storage and treated with growth inhibitors to prevent sprouting
Perhaps we have said enough. However, we do suggest you take a few minutes to read this important article on garlic which appeared in The Age a few years ago.
Kirsten served for five years as Deputy Chair of the Australian Garlic Industry Association (AGIA) and remains committed to the re-development of the garlic industry in Australia. David (husband) is now a board member of the AGIA and is a co-founder of the Meeniyan Garlic Festival.