Let’s not mince words: Cuisine all over the world includes garlic. No wonder there is an entire day dedicated to the pungent bulb and the sharp flavor it provides. To mark today’s National Garlic Day celebration, check out these facts you may not know about the ingredient:
Garlic is a vegetable
Since it is most used to add flavor – like an herb or spice – this may sound strange, but it’s true. You’ll find details on garlic’s production, use, and value in USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) Vegetables Annual Summary. According to the Vegetables 2020 Summary released in February, U.S. producers harvested 24,700 acres of garlic and produced 346 million pounds valued at $264 million last year.
Most garlic produced in the United States is used for processing
When you pick up garlic at the store, you might buy the entire bulb with cloves that you can crush, chop, or roast, among other uses. However, the 121 million pounds of this type of fresh market garlic produced in the U.S. last year accounted for less than half of total garlic production. Most U.S. garlic produced (225 million pounds in 2020) was used for processing. Processing means any operations that alter the general state of the commodity, such as canning, freezing, dehydration, or grinding.
Nonetheless, the total value of fresh market garlic in 2020 ($220 million) was greater than the value of garlic used for processing ($44 million).
Garlic and onions are in the same plant subfamily: Allium
Makes sense, right? Onions are also vegetables with strong flavors and aromas used to liven up our favorite dishes. In 2020, U.S. farmers produced a whopping 7.5 billion pounds of them, according to the Vegetables 2020 Summary.
Happy Garlic Day to all! Today is a great day to remember how much U.S. producers provide for us – not just sustenance and nutrition, but also flavor. For more agricultural statistics, visit www.nass.usda.gov.