Maximizing the Health Benefits of Ontario Garlic on the Farm
Removal of the developing flower stalk (scape) of hard-neck garlic is a common production practice in order to improve bulb size and yield. Scape removal is often delayed in order to allow it grow longer as it can be sold for consumption. Since the presence of the scape has a large impact on garlic productivity, research was initiated to study the impact of delayed scape removal on garlic allicin levels. This was coupled with evaluating changes in allicin levels as garlic was stored in 2 different environments (20˚C and 0˚C). Delaying scape removal had no effect on allicin levels of garlic at harvest, or 2 months after harvest. However, after long term (4 month) storage, garlic which had scape removal delayed tended to have lower levels of allicin. Regardless of storage environment, garlic allicin levels increased an average of 60% after 2 months in storage. Cold (0˚C) storage resulted in higher levels of allicin after 2 months when compared to room temperature (20˚C) storage; this trend continued when garlic was evaluated after 4 months. Future research should be directed at further characterizing the impact of storage conditions on garlic quality.