Summer has arrived and with it comes summer fatigue, the sluggish lethargy with loss of appetite or low energy due to the unrelenting heat. Allicin contained in garlic is said to be effective in relieving such fatigue when combined with vitamin B1 in garlic. In this issue, we will introduce garlic from Aomori Prefecture, which is the top producer of garlic in Japan.
Aomori prefecture boasts the largest production of garlic in Japan, reaching 14,300 tons in 2020, comprising 70% of the domestic production (total domestic production is 21,200 tons).
The main cultivar was developed from “Fukuchi White,” a native variety suited to the climate of Aomori Prefecture. Production began in full-scale in the town of Takko in 1962, and later expanded throughout the prefecture owing to the policy of shifting the use of rice fields for field crop production. The “Fukuchi White” is characterized by its large size and the firm snow-white flesh.
In addition to the quality of the cultivar, Aomori prefecture produces garlic of excellent quality year-round thanks to soil preparation designed for garlic cultivation, advanced cultivation techniques, meticulous management, as well as drying and storage techniques.
“Fresh Garlic” Limited Production Only
Garlic is sowed from mid-September to mid-October, and the harvest season begins in late June or early July of the following year. The Aomori garlic passes the winter in snow-covered fields and grows slowly in the extreme cold, resulting in a sweet flavor with little pungency.
When the harvest season arrives, the aroma of garlic wafts through the field, signaling the arrival of the season.
Though Aomori garlic is shipped throughout the year, the garlic that is only available during this season is known as “fresh garlic” and it is shipped before it is dried.
Normally, garlic is dried after harvest for about a month for year-round shipment. Without drying, the garlic quickly deteriorates, so dried garlic is the most common type of garlic available in markets and grocery stores.
Since “Fresh garlic” is not dried, it is very fresh, and its aroma and taste are more pungent than dried ones. When fried whole, the garlic gains a soft texture and a sweet taste.
“Fresh garlic” can only be enjoyed in Aomori for a limited time in a year.
How to Select and Preserve Garlic
How to Select
- Look for bulbs with large and firm cloves
- Look for bulbs with dry shiny skin
- Look for bulbs with firm heads
How to Preserve
- Put in a net and hang in a well-ventilated place
- Wrap in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator or freezer