Garlic is no stranger to any well-stocked kitchen. It’s vital to a variety of dishes and gives food an extra added kick. Many people recognize garlic for its white cloves. But did you know that garlic can also be black?
Black garlic is a version of regular garlic that has been aged over the course of a few weeks or even months. The process isn’t as simple as one might think. In order to get black garlic, it needs to be kept in a temperature- and humidity-controlled environment.
As you can see, black garlic can be delicate but worth the process.
How Do I Store Black Garlic?
Because black garlic is so special, you need to be careful when storing it. Black garlic that has been unopened can be stored at room temperature.
Once you use it, however, it needs to be stored in the refrigerator. Black garlic will keep for about a month after that.
Ideally, you should store black garlic in a paper bag or a jar with a towel at the bottom of it. This is because black garlic, especially when homemade, tends to drip. Therefore, there is always a risk of having mold grow on it.
Best Ways to Eat Black Garlic
Black garlic has a different taste than regular garlic does. Some people have compared it to tasting like molasses, balsamic, and even dates.
It can be easily used in most of your favorite foods. For example, you can put it on pizza, pasta, or even on top of your steak.
Others like to puree black garlic with olive oil and create a spread. You can even turn it into an aioli or a marinade.
Unlike regular garlic, black garlic doesn’t have a strong aftertaste and is much softer and chewier than normal garlic. You can also powder your black garlic and sprinkle it over anything you think would benefit from its delicious flavor.
Ways to Use Black Garlic
Because black garlic has Asian roots, it has been incorporated into many Asian dishes.
One of the most popular ways to eat black garlic is to mash up some cloves and combine it with soy sauce and chili. You can then pour this sauce over noodles, fried rice, and just about anything else.
Others like to use black garlic as a spread. You can incorporate black garlic in your hummus or you can combine it with cream cheese and herbs to turn into a spreadable dip that can be eaten over crackers or fresh bread.
Another way to use black garlic in food is to mix it up with mayonnaise and use it as a sandwich or burger spread. You can even use it to dip your French fries in!
Black garlic can also be consumed on its own. Because it doesn’t have that pungent aftertaste that regular garlic has, black garlic can be easily chopped up and placed on top of salads, as an addition to a charcuterie board, or even on its own.
If you are looking for a sweeter recipe, you can always dip black garlic into melted dark chocolate. Place them on parchment paper and leave them in the fridge to set. After a few hours, you’ll have a delectable treat.
If you’re a fan of ice cream, we have some good news for you! Black garlic can even be pureed and mixed with agave, honey, and maple syrup and then served on top of ice cream. In fact, you can even use it as a cake frosting!
History of Black Garlic
It might seem like black garlic came out of nowhere. But the truth is, black garlic has a rich history that dates back thousands of years.
Black garlic made its first appearance in Korea and Thailand, and was first introduced to the US by Scott Kim, a Korean inventor.
Black garlic is known to have rich antioxidants and antibiotics, which makes it a popular ingredient among health enthusiasts.
The Process of Making Black Garlic
As mentioned earlier, black garlic is made by keeping regular garlic in something similar to a rice cooker. The brown or black color comes from the caramelization of the glucose in the garlic. This is also known as the Maillard reaction.
Many people will refer to black garlic as fermented garlic but, technically, black garlic is caramelized, pasteurized, slow-roasted garlic.
Health Benefits of Black Garlic
As mentioned earlier black garlic has many antioxidants that are beneficial to those who consume it.
Black garlic can be used to cure a cold and can also be beneficial to the cardiovascular system. It helps keep blood vessels elastic, lowers cholesterol, and can even help reduce the size of a tumor.
Those who have been diagnosed with diabetes, allergies, or other chronic health issues can also benefit from black garlic. Black garlic also contains vitamins such as vitamin B6 and vitamin C, calcium, and more.
Some people have even reported weight loss after consuming black garlic.
Black garlic is great for curing allergies because it decreases the allergic reaction to immunoglobulin E, which is what causes allergies. Although black garlic doesn’t cure diabetes, it does help decrease the risk of complications due to this disease, thanks to the antioxidants in black garlic.
Black garlic also contains something called S-Allyl cysteine, which can be beneficial to lowering blood pressure. Although regular garlic also contains this chemical, the fermentation process of black garlic increases the amount of S-Allyl cysteine.
This chemical helps keep blood vessels young and flexible, thus helping to lower your blood pressure.
Making Your Own Black Garlic at Home
If you’re curious about trying black garlic and want to make it at home on your own, follow these simple instructions:
Start by cleaning your bulbs of garlic and remove any dirt that may be present. When doing this, be careful not to remove the peel or any cloves. If using a slow cooker, set it to medium heat.
When the cooker is warm enough and you’ve successfully cleaned your garlic bulbs, you can start to place them whole inside of the slow cooker.
You want to make sure that when you place them inside of the cooker, they are spread out and not touching. Keep the garlic in the slow cooker for about two to three weeks, making sure to leave them uninterrupted. It is important to keep checking on them over time, however.
It can be difficult to know when the garlic is done, but there are some ways to find out. After a week, you will see that the bottoms of the garlic will be charred. Do not worry, though; this is just a result of the papery layer on the outside of the garlic being charred.
After two weeks, you will see that the cloves of garlic have turned black. If they are still solid, however, they are not quite yet done. Over the course of the next week, you are going to want to keep a close eye on the garlic and feel it to make sure that it’s softening.
Don’t be afraid to take out one of the garlic cloves to test it out. Unwrap it from the papery layer and examine it more closely. You can also taste test, and feel for softness.
The consistency of your black garlic should be similar to that of a raisin or dried fig. Make sure that all of the cloves have this consistency before taking the entire bulb out of the slow cooker.
Now, it should be ready to use in dishes such as bruschetta, vinaigrettes, dressings, and more!
Where Can I Get Black Garlic?
If you don’t want to go through the entire process of making your own black garlic, you can always purchase it at a specialty store. You can also order black garlic online.
Many local farms may also have black garlic for sale, so be sure to call around to find out where you can get black garlic.
Black garlic is still a delicacy to some but over time, it will become a household staple.
Although the process is lengthy, black garlic is easy to make at home in a rice cooker or slow cooker. It’s an incredibly versatile ingredient that has a unique flavor that fits into just about any dish.
Aside from its delicious taste, black garlic has health benefits that will have you wanting to incorporate it into just about every dish you make.
Just be sure to store your garlic properly when you’re done using it! Black garlic keeps best in the fridge after it has been opened.
Be sure to store it in an airtight container, and add a paper towel or rag to the container so it can soak up any water that the black garlic drips out. When unopened, black garlic can easily be kept at room temperature.
And if you can’t make it at home, you can always purchase it online or in most specialty food stores!
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.