Discover the different varieties of garlic and how to choose the best one for your culinary and industrial needs in our blog.

Do you know all the varieties of garlic that exist?

Did you know that there are more than 600 varieties of garlic in the world? This incredible ingredient is not only essential in the kitchen, but also presents great diversity in terms of flavor, texture and uses. 

Garlic varieties can be grouped into two main categories: hardneck garlic (Allium sativum var. ophioscorodon) and softneck garlic (Allium sativum var. identification). Within these categories, there are subvarieties grown in different regions, each adapted to local climatic and soil conditions.

Hardneck Garlic

Hardneck garlic is characterized by having a stiff, hard stem that grows from the center of the bulb. Some notable subvarieties include:

  • Rocambole: Known for its easy-peel skin and strong flavor.
  • Porcelain: With large cloves and a mild flavor, this variety is known for its long-lasting white skin.
  • Purple Stripe: Identified by its purple stripes, with a sweet and complex flavor.

Softneck Garlic

Softneck garlic does not produce a hard central stem, making it more flexible and easier to braid. This type of garlic is commonly found in supermarkets due to its greater durability and long shelf life. Some popular subvarieties include:

  • Silverskin: Very common, with a long shelf life and a strong flavor.
  • Artichoke: Known for its multiple layers of cloves and milder flavor.

However, some varieties of garlic don’t always fit neatly into the hardneck or softneck categories. Some are recognized by their geographical origin or by specific characteristics that do not necessarily align strictly with traditional botanical classification.

The Most Recognized Varieties of Garlic

The world of garlic is very diverse, with some varieties that stand out for their unique characteristics, their geographical origin or their popularity in cooking and industry. Below, we explain some of the most recognized and appreciated varieties of garlic around the world.

White garlic

White garlic is one of the most common and widely cultivated varieties throughout the world. It is characterized by its white skin and large, uniform teeth. It is known for its strong and spicy flavor, making it an essential ingredient in many global cuisines. The main producers of white garlic include China and the United States.

White garlic is widely used in cooking for its ability to enhance the flavor of various dishes. It is ideal for use in sauces, marinades, soups and main dishes. In the food industry, it is used in the production of garlic powder, granulated garlic and garlic flakes, which are common ingredients in processed and prepared products.

Purple Garlic

Purple garlic is distinguished by its purple skin and its intense, spicy flavor. This variety is especially appreciated in Mediterranean and Spanish cuisine. 

Purple garlic is known for its high levels of antioxidants and sulfur compounds, which offer numerous health benefits. In addition to its culinary use, it is valued in traditional medicine for its antibacterial and antiviral properties. In cooking, it is used in recipes that require a strong flavor, such as sauces, stews, and roast dishes.

Red Garlic

Red garlic is known for its reddish skin and robust, strong flavor. It is a popular option in Mexican cuisine. The best-known subvarieties include Mexican Red Garlic, used widely in traditional Mexican cuisine.

In cooking, red garlic is used to enhance the flavor of dishes such as sauces, meats, and stews. Additionally, red garlic is prized for its medicinal properties, including benefits for the cardiovascular system and anti-inflammatory properties.

Black Garlic

Black garlic is not a different variety, but a product made by fermenting garlic. This process transforms garlic cloves into a black, sweet substance with an umami flavor, which is highly appreciated in haute cuisine.

In addition to its culinary use, black garlic offers health benefits, including antioxidant properties and positive effects on blood pressure and cholesterol. It is used in sauces, dressings, and as a unique seasoning in a variety of gourmet dishes.

Most Famous Garlic Varieties by Region

Garlic is grown in various regions of the world, each providing its own unique varieties with specific characteristics and uses. The regions best known for their garlic production and the varieties grown there are:

Garlic from Las Pedroñeras (Spain)

Purple Garlic from Las Pedroñeras is one of the most prestigious and recognized varieties in Spain. This garlic has a Protected Designation of Origin (DOP), which guarantees its quality and authenticity. The DOP ensures that garlic is grown and produced following traditional methods and strict quality controls in the Las Pedroñeras region, in Castilla-La Mancha.

Las Pedroñeras Purple Garlic is characterized by its purple skin, large cloves and a strong, spicy flavor. It is especially appreciated in Mediterranean and Spanish cuisine for its ability to enhance the flavor of numerous dishes. It is used in sauces, marinades, stews and roasts, where its intense flavor is highly valued. Additionally, due to its high levels of antioxidants and sulfur compounds, this garlic is also known for its health benefits.

Gilroy Garlic (United States)

Known as the «garlic capital» of the United States, Gilroy, California, is famous for its high-quality garlic production. Gilroy garlic is distinguished by its large size, white skin and consistent flavor. This garlic is very popular in both domestic and industrial kitchens due to its constant availability and high quality.

Gilroy garlic is used widely in sauces, marinades, and main dishes. In the food industry, it is used in the production of garlic powder, granulated garlic and garlic flakes, common ingredients in processed and prepared products. Its taste and quality make it a trusted choice for chefs and food manufacturers across the country.

Chinese garlic

China is the largest producer of garlic in the world, growing a wide range of varieties, but the best known are white garlic and purple garlic. Chinese white garlic is famous for its strong and spicy flavor, while purple garlic is also appreciated for its properties and flavor.

The quality of Chinese garlic can vary, but it is generally characterized by its smooth white skin, large cloves, and a strong, spicy flavor. China exports large quantities of garlic globally, making this product accessible and affordable in many markets. Mass production and efficiency in cultivation and processing allow China to maintain very competitive prices in the global market.

Indian garlic

India is another major producer of garlic, growing varieties such as red garlic and white garlic. Garlic in India is used extensively in local cuisine, being an essential ingredient in many traditional recipes.

In addition to its domestic use, India exports a significant amount of garlic to other countries, contributing to the global trade in this product. The medicinal properties of garlic, such as its antibacterial and antioxidant benefits, are also highly valued in traditional Indian medicine.

How to Choose the Right Garlic Variety

Choosing the right variety of garlic can make a big difference in your dishes or products. Here are some key considerations to help you select the perfect garlic for your needs.

1.Flavor profile

The flavor of garlic varies greatly between different varieties. Some are strong and spicy, while others are milder and sweeter. For example, Chinese white garlic is known for its intense flavor, ideal for dishes that need a powerful touch. On the other hand, Las Pedroñeras purple garlic has a complex and spicy flavor, perfect for Mediterranean recipes.

2.Type of Cuisine

The type of cuisine you prepare also influences the choice of garlic. For Mediterranean cuisine, purple garlic is an excellent choice due to its robust flavor. In Asian cuisine, white garlic is very popular for its versatility and intense flavor. Black garlic, with its sweet and umami flavor, is ideal for gourmet and creative dishes.

3.Processing and Presentation

Depending on your industrial needs, the way the garlic is presented can be crucial. Powdered, granulated or flaked garlic is commonly used in processed and prepared products. Gilroy garlic is an excellent choice for these purposes due to its high quality and consistent availability.

4.Durability and Storage

The durability and storage capacity of garlic are important factors to consider in industrial applications. Softneck garlic, such as Silverskin and Artichoke varieties, is known for its long shelf life, making it ideal for long-term storage. These varieties are perfect for the production of garlic powder and other dehydrated products.

5.Health benefits

Some varieties of garlic offer additional health benefits due to their high levels of antioxidants and sulfur compounds. Purple garlic, for example, is known for its antibacterial and antiviral properties, while black garlic is prized for its positive effects on blood pressure and cholesterol.

6.Personal preferences

Finally, your personal preferences and those of your customers also play an important role in choosing garlic. If you prefer a milder flavor, Artichoke garlic may be the best option. If you are looking for a more complex and powerful flavor, purple garlic or black garlic may be more suitable.

By understanding the unique characteristics of each variety, you can make informed decisions that will improve the quality and flavor of your dishes or products. If you need more information or are ready to place a wholesale order for garlic, do not hesitate to visit our website The Garlic Factory. We are wholesale garlic suppliers, the first player in the European garlic supply industry. With more than 100 years leading the garlic market and working with 100% Spanish raw materials.
Contact us for more details and start enjoying the benefits of our garlic supply.

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