Kitchen Myths

Facts and fiction about food and cooking, by Peter Aitken

All domestic garlic has roots

While a lot of garlic is grown here in the US, some is imported from China and other countries. If you want to buy American, believe the rumors that Chinese garlic is toxic, or simply believe that domestic garlic tastes better, how do you tell the difference? It’s been said that all Chinese garlic has no roots because they have been cut off to meet import requirements (see first photo), while domestic garlic always has roots (which may have been trimmed short, see second photo). Well, no.

For one thing, all imported garlic has trimmed roots, so it may be from Canada or Mexico and not necessarily from big bad China. But more important, plenty of domestic garlic also has trimmed roots, so it’s not a reliable way to tell. Bottom line? Roots = domestic, no roots = who knows?

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