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Does Growing Location Influence Garlic Flavor and Health Benefits?

Garlic is mainly consumed as a spice or condiment, giving flavor and aroma to other foods. And what gives garlic those wonderful aromas and flavors? The April 22nd Sustainable, Secure Food Blog looks at what influences flavor and health benefits.  

Different garlic cultivars accumulate varying amounts and types of these compounds, resulting in garlics with different flavor intensity and aromas.

In addition to its use in adding flavor to foods, folk medicine has attributed a multitude of health benefits to garlic consumption for centuries. These range from treating heart disease to its use as an antiparasitic agent. It wasn’t until recently that some of these claims were backed up by scientific research. Among them are blood thinning, antihypertensive, antioxidant, and anti-cancer properties.

Garlic cultivars vary in the expected length of their postharvest conservation. Research has shown that garlic – and other bulbous vegetables like onion – had better postharvest conservation as the water content in their bulbs decreased. So, if the bulbs have more solid content (and less water content) at harvest, their postharvest performance is better. Thus, because total solids content is easy to measure, this trait is often used to predict the postharvest quality of garlics and onions.

Garlic cultivars vary genetically in their ability to accumulate these compounds that influence the flavor, health-related properties, and postharvest conservation of garlic bulbs.

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