Central Asia, but cultivated all over the world.
Used plant part
Bulb (subterranean reserve structure derived from a leaf). There is
minor use for fresh garlic leaves.
Strong and characteristic odour, which is markedly different in
fresh and fried state. The pungency of fresh garlic vanishes after
cooking or frying.
Garlic flower cluster: Use
Garlic is one of the most popular spices in the world, and wherever
it was introduced to, it met enthusiastic approval. It is reported
that in ancient Egypt, the workers who had to build the great
pyramids were fed their daily share of garlic, and the Bible
mentions garlic as a food the Hebrews enjoyed during their sojourn
In Europe, garlic has been a common spice since the days of the
Roman Empire, and it was extensively used from India to East Asia
even before the Europeans arrived there. After the Age of
Exploration, its use spread rapidly to Africa and both Americas.
Curiously enough, in our days Northern Europeans seem to be the only
ones who look on it with suspicion because of its strong smell,
which is sometimes felt unpleasant.
Raw garlic may also be pickled in vinegar or olive oil (however,
there is a risk for botulism). Since some of garlic's aroma is
extracted by the liquid, pickled garlic is usually very mild. Herbal
vinegar is commonly made with one or two garlic cloves per liter
Usage of fried or cooked garlic is, however, much more common. On
heating, the pungency and strong odour get lost and the aroma
becomes more subtle and less dominant, harmonizing perfectly with
ginger, pepper, chiles and many other spices. Therefore, it is an
essential ingredient for nearly every cuisine of the world.