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Old 05-16-2011, 09:18 AM   #1
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Problem with fresh garlic?

Has anyone else experienced less that stellar garlic lately?
For the past couple of months I've noticed the cloves being really small and skinny. I usually buy it loose and this was going on in from different sources. The bulbs look normal, but contain many small cloves rather than the nice thumb sized cloves I usually see. You can't tell that before breaking into a bulb though.
Last week I decided to buy the garlic that comes in those mesh bags/tubes, something with a name put on it, and it was the same thing I thought I was peeling off some nice cloves from the bulb last night, only to find that after bashing with my knife, one clove broke down further into three or four smaller ones like what I've been getting. I don't ever recall this rash of sub-par garlic before. It tastes the same, it's just a pain to work with.
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Old 05-16-2011, 09:27 AM   #2
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I haven't had that problem at all. In fact, some purplish skinned garlic I bought recently was ALL big cloves. No little ones, even in the center.
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Old 05-16-2011, 09:28 AM   #3
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I have had that issue from time to time. My issue is the overall quality of garlic. There seems to be a lot more heads of garlic with spoiled cloves hidden inside.

I select firm white (or purplish) heads with no black and nice tight cloves. I get them home and find half the cloves are spotted brown. All this after having to pick through a dozen head in the bin to find a "good" one.
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Old 05-16-2011, 09:31 AM   #4
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That too, Andy. I've noticed some cloves towards the center starting to go soft, too.
It seems the quality has taken a turn.
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Old 05-16-2011, 10:46 AM   #5
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garlic is generally harvested in July, so any garlic on the market has been out of the ground for about 10 months. Personally, I can't keep fresh garlic in any kind of decent shape, so I have taken to drying it shortly after harvest. I would think California garlic is kept is climate controlled conditions, but expect the garlic would decline in condition once it left the warehouse....just not a good time of the year to find nice garlic.
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Old 05-16-2011, 11:01 AM   #6
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garlic is generally harvested in July, so any garlic on the market has been out of the ground for about 10 months. Personally, I can't keep fresh garlic in any kind of decent shape, so I have taken to drying it shortly after harvest. I would think California garlic is kept is climate controlled conditions, but expect the garlic would decline in condition once it left the warehouse....just not a good time of the year to find nice garlic.
I freeze garlic when it is newly harvested. The garlic turns brown, but the flavor does not change. You are right in the harvesting time. What you get today is nearly a year old.
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Old 05-16-2011, 11:21 AM   #7
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That's interesting. I would have thought that someone's climate could grow garlic to supply us in the Spring.
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Old 05-16-2011, 11:37 AM   #8
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That's interesting. I would have thought that someone's climate could grow garlic to supply us in the Spring.

I bought garlic Saturday that was labeled as 'Product of Mexico'.

In certain geographic locations, I would assume you could plant several crops of garlic with a 12-month growing season. In the Southern hemisphere, garlic would be harvested in January.

Regardless, I have had poor luck with garlic for the past couple of years.
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Old 05-16-2011, 04:07 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pacanis View Post
Has anyone else experienced less that stellar garlic lately?
For the past couple of months I've noticed the cloves being really small and skinny. I usually buy it loose and this was going on in from different sources. The bulbs look normal, but contain many small cloves rather than the nice thumb sized cloves I usually see. You can't tell that before breaking into a bulb though.
Last week I decided to buy the garlic that comes in those mesh bags/tubes, something with a name put on it, and it was the same thing I thought I was peeling off some nice cloves from the bulb last night, only to find that after bashing with my knife, one clove broke down further into three or four smaller ones like what I've been getting. I don't ever recall this rash of sub-par garlic before. It tastes the same, it's just a pain to work with.

Maybe it is Pa? I have had the same problem!
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Old 05-16-2011, 04:16 PM   #10
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good info, beth thanks i never knew much about garlic, save what i like about how it tastes.

i always try to buy stiffneck/hardneck garlic when possible, and the most purple-ish as possible. a friend who grows garlic upstate n.y. commercially/organically taught me that those are the things to look for.

i could be wrong though. we were drunk and he didn't want me dating his sister. lol.
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Old 05-16-2011, 04:22 PM   #11
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lol, maybe it IS a PA problem...

I don't think I've ever seen the purpleish garlic. Just your typical white skinned variety, or elephant garlic, which is also white. At least what I have seen by me, but y'all know I'm not in a food hot bed like the big cities.
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Old 05-16-2011, 04:25 PM   #12
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Purple garlic. The inside is not purple:
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Old 05-16-2011, 04:38 PM   #13
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I have found that the quality of garlic from supermarkets is not so great. That's why I always buy organic garlic at the health food. I feel for plump cloves inside the skin.

Most of the fresh garlic in the supermarkets around here is from China.
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Old 05-16-2011, 05:28 PM   #14
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I keep a big jar of pre-minced garlic from the grocery store in the fridge, lasts forever and I can't tell the difference from fresh in cooked stuff. Really convenient.

Bulb quality is really variable here too.
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Old 05-16-2011, 05:34 PM   #15
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this is the garlic I grow

Gourmet Garlic Gardens (Porcelain Garlics)

and it is about as purple as the upright garlic Andy posted. And even though is says it is a good keeper, I obviously do not have proper storage conditions for long term storage.
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Old 05-16-2011, 07:28 PM   #16
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I too have noticed the decline in garlic quality as of late. Both puny cloves that you think are big and fat until like Pac says, you whack them with your knife and also like Andy says the shrivled and or dark spots. I always try to pick a firm, large good looking bulb in the grocery store or veggie stand, but it doesn't seem to matter. I am going to grow some this year and see how it keeps.
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Old 05-18-2011, 03:20 PM   #17
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First, I agree completely with Bethzaring about garlic. It is the wrong time of year to expect good garlic when it's been out of the ground for 10 months.

I grew some hardneck and some softneck last year and I have about 75 bulbs stored at 55 degrees f. in an open box in the fruit cellar right now. I just went down there and they all look good and when I give them a squeeze, they are slightly dehydrated though not much. I'm sure we'll have more than enough to get through the next batch of garlic growing now in the gardens.

I have over a thousand garlic growing now, and I'll have some to sell when they come out of the ground and I hang them to dry. Let me know if you are interested.

At certain times of year it's nice to use fresh, other times, pickled, frozen grated, or dehydrated. May and June--it's more difficult to get plump hardy cloves.
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Old 05-18-2011, 03:52 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bethzaring View Post
this is the garlic I grow

Gourmet Garlic Gardens (Porcelain Garlics)

and it is about as purple as the upright garlic Andy posted. And even though is says it is a good keeper, I obviously do not have proper storage conditions for long term storage.
Nice website Beth.
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