From ancient myths to urban legends, many stories have revolved around garlic benefits and unique properties. Garlic is not only used to add a rich aroma to your dishes, but also used for its many health benefits.
Garlic, scientifically known as Allium sativum, is a distant cousin to chives and onions. Garlic originated in central Asia and has been cultivated since ancient times. Its medicinal properties played a key role in Ancient Egypt’s culture. During the time of the Pharaohs, when Egypt was at the peak of its power, garlic was given to the laborers and slaves who were building the great pyramids in order to increase their stamina and strength as well as to protect them from disease.
Today, garlic is grown literally all over the world and though primarily used as a food source, garlic is making a strong comeback as a potent, natural, herbal remedy. There is a curious superstition in some parts of Europe that if a morsel of bulb be chewed by a man running a race, it will prevent his competitors from getting ahead of him, and Hungarian jockeys will sometimes fasten a clove of garlic to the bits of their horses in the belief that any other racers running close to those thus baited, will fall back the instant they smell the offensive odor.
Garlic is arranged in a head, called the "bulb," averaging about 2 inches in height and diameter consisting of numerous small separate cloves. Both the cloves and the entire bulb are encased in paper-like sheathes that can be white, off-white or pinkish. Although garlic cloves have a firm texture, they can be easily cut or crushed. The taste of garlic is like no other - it hits the palate with a hot pungency that is shadowed by a very subtle background sweetness. While elephant garlic has larger cloves, it is more closely related to the leek and therefore does not offer the full health benefits of regular garlic.
The South African Garlic Growers Association as a producer's organization was founded in 1991. The organization represents the majority of garlic growers in SA and its members are scattered all over South Africa.
South Africans consume about 4000 tons of garlic per annum - 60% are locally produced and 40% are imported. The aims of the South African Garlic Growers Association are: