Sonoran Garlic is a type of garlic that’s grown in the Sonoran Desert and is thus a big staple of the local food both in Mexico and in the American south. They are somewhat similar to an ordinary garlic but there’s a difference in shape and the amount of cloves you get in a bulb.
They are grown in Texas, Arizona and California where the climate is similar to that in Mexico and the culinary practices are very much shared and mixed.
Sonoran Garlic Trivia
- They are named after the desert they grow in
- They are also called Turban garlic
- Sonoran Garlic is filled with vitamin C
Sonoran Garlic Buying Guide
When choosing the garlic from the produce section of your local store, the best way to go by is the quality of the skin of the plant. You want it to be paper thin. Make sure to pick up the garlic and to be sure that it’s firm to the touch and that there’s no visible damage or brown spots.
You should also notice the distinct sent of the garlic is still fresh.
Sonoran Garlic Production & Farming in Texas
It’s produced in Texas because the climate is just perfect for it, and it’s mostly grown in the area for which it is named. What makes it different than the ordinary garlic is the fact that it should be harvested faster. It’s considered to be a gourmet vegetable and it’s mostly sold in Austin and San Diego when there’s a need for it in restaurants.
It should be planted in late fall so that you can harvest it in season and have it available for purchase when it’s expected and most needed. Garlic is also highly resilient to frost and a cold winter could actually do it good after it was planted and takes root, which is what happens in November.
The crop will be fully mature in June. Most companies sell the cloves, known wrongly as seeds or sets, simply as garlic sets, but there are quite a few of different varieties to take into account when choosing what to grow.
Harvests very early – late spring to early Summer – stores until around November-December. They typically have six to ten cloves per bulb in a circular configuration around a central scape. They’re generally large bulbs with fat cloves. The bulb wrappers are firm, tight and vivid with broad, bold purple stripes merging into areas of solid purple.
Garlic is a natural pesticides and what repeals the insects is what makes it spicy. However, there are still some pesticides that are often used on it. The pesticides usually don’t stay on the plant for a long time.
This type of garlic has originated in the area for which it is named after. Today Sonoran garlic is known to grow well in Mexico and the warm American south from eastern Texas to southwestern California and can be found at farmer’s markets and specialty grocers.
They require a climate that can be found only in this area and that’s why there’s no way to grow them elsewhere but they are transported and exported across the country and beyond.
Garlics are usually packed in batches or in strings. They come in packages of 250, 500, and 1.000 grams. In some cases, they are packed to fit a number of them in a string – most commonly two, three or four depending on the size.
When it comes to long range transport, the garlic is packed in boxes or even in sacks. They are usually up to 25 kg in net weight. In the US they are also sometimes packed in cardboard boxes up to 13.5 kg in weight.
Enjoying Sonoran Garlic
There are countless ways to add garlic to your diet and there are even cultures that eat it raw. If that’s no for you, and it’s not for most, you should start with preparing the garlic for cooking. Break the garlic up in cloves and push it on a cutting board in order to separate them. It will have up to 12 cloves per bulb.
Make cuts with a sharp knife and it’s best if you do it lengthwise, flip the garlic over and do it again. After that you can chop it into fine pieces and add it to any dish that you might make.
Sonoran Garlic can be used in most recipes that require any other garlic but it will add its own feel and look to the dish. That usually means that they are a bit spicier than ordinary garlics would have been. They are often used in Mexican dishes such as: totoaba frita (fried totoaba fish), k’ola k’yalk’osenne (roasted tomatillo salsa), Rio Sonora garlic soup, and carne adovada con chiles el guique (red chili pork stew).
While garlic is a low-calorie food, it’s not particularly rich in the daily nutrients you need. But as per the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate guidelines, it is on the list of healthy ingredients you can include in your diet.
Nutritionally speaking, garlic is most useful as a spice or as a way to bring out the flavors of other healthy foods, like vegetables. The following nutrition facts for garlic from the United States Department of Agriculture are based on estimates of a 1-teaspoon serving.
Research primarily supports garlic’s potential antibacterial benefits, as well as its ability to help control cholesterol-causing lipids in the blood. Garlic also has antioxidants, which may help prevent free radicals that contribute to chronic illnesses, such as heart disease and cancer.
Some of the most promising research on garlic’s health benefits pertains to cholesterol and high blood pressure. But the research on these effects is limited. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health describes conflicting studies on the effects of garlic supplements on cholesterol. In some small studies, garlic supplements were shown to lower blood cholesterol within three months. In other studies, though, garlic had no effects on cholesterol whatsoever.