While black garlic is still a novelty for most of the world, it has an ancient history that goes back to the 1000s years old preserving traditions of Korea and Thailand. It has been in use and respect there for a long time. According to their mythology it prolongs life, and people add it to foods and energy drinks. Korean inventor Scott Kim introduced it to the USA market in 2008.
All it’s unique values have to do with it’s rich antioxidants and antibiotic qualities, that increase with the production.
Black garlic cooking process
What is it exactly? Is it not just a garlic variety, any garlic can turn into this black beauty.
In only one month (2-4 weeks) the ordinary garlic becomes the super garlic. Bulb goes through slowly roasting process in a controlled heat and humidity conditions (similar to a rice cooker). Then it slowly changes to black color without use of any additives keeping it a natural product. It turns black by caramelizing all the glucose, and from the outside looks like an old garlic bulb.
That black color comes from melanoidin – compounds that are generated with reducing sugars and amino acids during fermentation. According to the research, there is 10-25 times more antioxidants in black garlic in comparison to regular raw bulb. Antibiotic qualities also increase, biologically active components supporting healthy immunity.
Some people call it fermented garlic. It is not technically correct as there is no microbial action in the process. It is just an enzyme breakdown. So it is caramelized pasteurized slow roasted garlic.
What about the taste?
The taste also changes dramatically. It reminds of a dried sweet fig, with a hint of smokiness, molasses and soy sauce with practically missing the original garlic flavor. You can safely eat it before going on a date as there is no odor. It offers a slightly sweet deep layered caramel-chocolate taste with chewy texture.
Use it during a cold, like a medicine. Black garlic is excellent for cardiovascular system, supporting healthy arteries, blood pressure and heart. By keeping the blood vessels elastic, it has regenerative effect, working to prolong the life of the body.
S-allyl cystein (SAC) – component of the garlic is being investigated as a potential cholesterol lowering and tumor-reducing agent. It’s antioxidants protect the body from free radical damage, and DNA damage, promising help with chronic health problems, like diabetes or allergies. This super vegetable contains magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, selenium, vitamin B6 and vitamin C.
The preparation and cooking ideas
So how do you use it besides just snacking on it like a piece of dried fruit?
You can make sauces, purées and dips. Mash it into garlic “butter”. Or use it on pizza, with rice and beans, vegetables and sandwiches.
It pairs really well with mushrooms, cheese, tomatoes, olives, basil, meat and seafood.
Based on it’s unique color it can be a decorating element of any culinary design. And how about trying it even in combination with dark chocolate?!
You can keep it on the counter for 30 days or in air tight container in the fridge for 6 month.