Ismayilli garlic

Ismailli district, and specifically Ivanovka village, is the historical production area of this garlic variety, which may have been brought by the first Molokans displaced from Russia in 19th century, who founded the village of Ivanovka in 1846. This garlic has been produced in the kolkhoz (Soviet collective farm) of Ivanovka since its establishment; during the Soviet period, most of the harvest was exported to Hungary, for use in sausage production, in exchange for imported clothing. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the cultivated area was halved and continued to shrink. The garlic is cultivated only by hand. Ismailli garlic is usually white but the bulb can also be yellowish or pink. It has an unobtrusive but persistent aroma and intense flavor. The bulb is round, somewhat flattened, and small (2.5 centimeters). Harvest occurs in July, and Ivanovka village produces about 1 tonne each year.

The locals of Ivanovka use the garlic for pickling and as a seasoning in many different traditional dishes, such as sausages. Some growers plant the garlic 1 month late and harvest it before the head has divided into cloves; this has turned out to be very good for salting. For pickling, the garlic is harvested when the skin is still young and thin: It is cleaned and put into barrels or glass jars. Pure water and salt (2 tablespoons per 3 liters of water) are added; after a couple of months, vinegar from the local madrasa grape variety is added to the brine so that the garlic will keep its crunchy texture for months. Pickled garlic can be stored for several years in a dry and cool place.

Young people are leaving Ivanovka village and the kolkhoz, so there is lack of people to process the garlic and continue its cultivation. In the last few years this Ismailli garlic has started to face competition from Chinese garlic, which is larger and more productive, but less fragrant.