Monday, September 9, 2013

Should I yield to the temptation of Chinese garlic?

A breakfast of cabbage and salt fish with sweet plantains uses peeled and chopped Christopher Ranch garlic from Costco Wholesale.

By Victor E. Sasson

My wife has a lot more patience than I do when it comes to peeling and chopping fresh garlic for our home-cooked meals.

I'd just as soon grab a jar of Kirkland Signature Granulated California Garlic. 

We use fresh, California-grown Christopher Ranch Monviso Garlic, an  heirloom variety that originated in the Piedmont region of Italy.

A 2-pound net bag of the garlic is $4.29 at my Costco Wholesale in Hackensack.

But I can't tell you how tempted I am by the large jars of peeled garlic cloves I see at H Mart, the Korean supermarket chain in North Jersey.

I peeled and chopped Christopher Ranch garlic for this dish of organic whole-wheat pasta with vegetables and sardines, which I served with tofu and a wedge of frittata.

The pasta dish contained Trader Joe's Healthy 8 Chopped Veggie Mix: broccoli, carrots, green cabbage, red cabbage, jicama, green bell pepper, radish and celery.

The only problem with the H Mart garlic is that it comes from China, which has a poor food-safety record. 

And if you read the label of the Christopher Ranch garlic, you may not want to bother with anything else:

"Monviso [heirloom garlic] has the highest concentration of savory oils" and "is preferred by chefs for its farm-fresh quality, bold nutty flavor and creamy garlic finish."

I've picked up one tip on how to peel garlic easily:

Smashing the clove first with the flat side of your chef's knife will make it much easier to peel.


Prompted by a reader's comment, I went looking for peeled Christopher Ranch Monviso Garlic at my Hackensack Costco.

I found a 3-pound plastic bag or pouch of the California garlic -- peeled -- for $4.99, but it was marked "perishable" and "keep refrigerated," and had an expiration date of Oct. 11, 2013.

The peeled Chinese garlic at H Mart wasn't refrigerated.

The peeled Christopher Ranch garlic is cheaper than the unpeeled, but can I use 3 pounds of garlic cloves in a month?



  1. Costco also has 4lb containers of peeled Christopher Ranch garlic for around 5 dollars. I use this for roasted garlic. I take all the garlic in a baking dish big enough to hold it all and one liter of olive oil. Roast in the oven for 35-45 minutes at 350. Lower the temp to 250 and roast for additional 30 minutes. Watch the garlic, you only want it to get light brown not burn. I hold it in the refrig. to use the cloves and the oil as needed.

  2. I found a 3-pound bag today at Costco, and updated this post. I use the garlic for stir fries and other dishes, but wouldn't want to roast all 3 pounds at once.

  3. Victor: Thank you for trying our garlic! No additives, no preservatives - just 100% California Garlic, grown by the Christopher family since 1956.

    1. Thank you. I'm trying your unpeeled garlic now -- a 3-pound bag from Costco.


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