All joking about bad breath aside, garlic really is great stuff. You can eat the delicious cloves raw but most people cook garlic, using it to add flavor to a wide range of dishes. The culinary wonders worked by garlic aren’t the only reason to eat it. Being rich in vitamins and minerals, garlic can help keep you healthy. However, when shopping for garlic, it’s important to pay attention to the source. If you aren’t careful you risk buying garlic with sub-standard taste and worse, all sorts of chemical contamination.
The biggest culprit by far is garlic from China. Because of its low cost, it’s becoming more and more common. In the United States, about 60% of all garlic sold in stores was imported from China. The big problem with Chinese garlic is that the country lacks a lot of the food safety regulations we take for granted. Farmers and producers in China can and do cut corners in all sorts of outrageous ways. Chinese garlic is often grown in soil that’s contaminated with heavy, toxic metals like arsenic, cadmium, and lead. For fertilizer, some farmers use raw, untreated human sewage. Lovely! As if all that wasn’t enough, there’s widespread use of dangerous, cancer-causing pesticides that have long been banned in other countries, including the United States. Chinese garlic is usually bleached and then fumigated with chemicals that can damage the central nervous system.
So what should you look for when garlic shopping? A big tip-off are the roots: if they’re still attached, you can be sure it’s American. Garlic from China has to have its roots removed before being imported. Give it a feel: American garlic is heavier and firmer than Chinese garlic. If you’re doing a taste test, Chinese garlic is less flavorful and, not surprisingly based on what you’ve just learned, often has a slightly metallic taste. For more details, have a look at the video we’ve posted below.
Are you going to be paying more attention to where your garlic comes from? Let us know in the Facebook comments and don’t forget to like and share!