National Garlic Day Date in the current year: April 19, 2024

National Garlic Day Garlic has been used in cooking and folk medicine for millennia, so if any vegetable deserves its own national day, it is definitely garlic. National Garlic Day is celebrated annually on April 19.

Garlic is a bulbous flowering plant that belongs to the genus Allium. Its closest relatives are the common onion, leek, shallot, scallion, and chives. Native to Central Asia, it is widely cultivated around the world and used in cooking for its pungent, spicy flavor, as well as in traditional medicine.

Garlic has been cultivated for thousands of years. There is evidence of its use in ancient China, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece and Rome both as a seasoning and as a folk remedy for arthritis, chronic cough, parasites, insect and snake bites, and other ailments.

In addition to its culinary and medicinal uses, garlic is part of the folklore in many countries and regions. In Europe, for example, it is believed to be a powerful ward against various supernatural creatures, especially vampires. A Korean legend tells about a bear who ate 20 garlic cloves and a bundle of mugwort and was transformed into a woman who gave birth to Dangun, the legendary founder of the first Korean kingdom.

Today, garlic is cultivated in many countries, but the world’s top ten garlic producers are China (accounting for 76% of the total production), India, Bangladesh, the European Union, South Korea, Egypt, the United States, Algeria, Uzbekistan, and Ukraine.

Garlic is rich in various phytochemicals that are responsible for its strong smell (which has earned garlic the nickname “stinking rose”) and sharp taste. They are released when the cells of the plant are damaged, which is why garlic is usually finely chopped or crushed when used in cooking.

Garlic bulbs, usually divided into segments called cloves, are the most commonly used part of the plant. They can be added to various dishes, ranging from breads to stews to pasta, or used to make black garlic (a type of aged garlic that originated in the Asian cuisine), garlic powder (dehydrated and powdered garlic used as a spice), garlic salt (a mixture of table salt and garlic powder), and flavored vegetable oils.

Garlic leaves and flowers are sometimes eaten, too. They are a popular vegetable in many Asian countries and a common ingredient in stir fries and soups. Garlic can also be consumed immature; the so-called green garlic is milder in flavor than mature bulbs.

And do you know that garlic even has its own capital? The city of Gilroy, California is known as the Garlic Capital of the Nation and World. It hosts the annual Gilroy Garlic Festival on the last full weekend of July.

The best way to celebrate National Garlic Day is to cook a delicious meal with garlic and share photos and recipes on your social media using the hashtag #NationalGarlicDay to spread the word. If you have a garden, plant some garlic there so you can also have fresh bulbs and leaves whenever you feel like cooking with garlic because for those who love the sharp flavor of garlic, every day is National Garlic Day!

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National Garlic Day, unofficial holidays, holidays in the United States, American observances, food days