Black garlic is aged “regular” garlic at a specific temperature and humidity to produce the Maillard reaction which turns the garlic cloves from light yellow to black. The result of the transformation is a sweet umami-rich flavor without the harsh acidity of regular garlic. Use the black garlic cloves to add depth of flavor to dressings, sauces and various dishes.
About Black Garlic
At first glance, the outside of the garlic bulb looks different than “normal” garlic. The black garlic skin is noticeably darker and is typically a shade of light brown. The skin is dry and very flaky and when squeezed lightly it the garlic cloves feel very soft.
Inside, the black garlic cloves will look almost like tar. They are dark black and have a sheen appearance. The paper comes off quickly and naturally separates from the cloves during the dehydration process. When you touch the cloves, there is a tackiness or stickiness to them.
What does black garlic taste like?
Oh, I wish I could give you a clove to bite into to experience the taste of black garlic. The flavor is sweeter and much less harsh than regular garlic with a reduced acidity. The texture is smooth and chewy similar to a date. Black garlic has an umami-rich flavor that gives it a richness along with hints of tamarind or balsamic vinegar. The smell of black garlic is also much milder than regular garlic.
How does the black garlic get black?
Black garlic is created by heating the bulbs to around 130-170 degrees and maintaining the temperature and humidity of 80-90% for 6-8 weeks. During this time the enzymes breakdown and the Maillard reaction occurs. The Maillard reaction is what is responsible for making “browned” foods like steak when grilled. Black garlic is NOT fermented, and it was never burned causing them to turn black, it is just the Maillard reaction. A typical device to create black garlic at home is a food dehydrator set at a specific temperature and humidity. For a more technical analysis of black garlic check out this article in the Journal of Food and Drug Analysis.
What are the health benefits of black garlic?
People in South Korea, Japan, and Thailand have consumed black garlic for centuries. Black garlic has increased in popularity in other countries over the past ten years ago. The increased demand for black garlic over the past ten years will probably lead to more studies of the health benefits. Studies have shown that there are more antioxidants in black garlic than raw garlic and increased concentrations of S-Allyl cysteine. The S-Allyl cysteine is currently thought to lower cholesterol possibly and is chemopreventative.
How to use black garlic
Add black garlic to:
- Dips such as hummus
- Aioli, vinaigrettes, or marinades
- Butter. One head of black garlic, 8 oz. salted butter. Blend.
Black Garlic Tips
- Use to add umami flavor.
- Don’t be afraid to pop a clove in your mouth.
- Flavor is mild and best to add to neutrally flavored foods.
- Due to mild flavor, black garlic isn’t always a great substitute for regular garlic.
- Can be stored in the fridge for months.
Black Garlic Recipes
Where to get black garlic
I purchased black garlic from my CSA during the month of May. The black garlic was grown by Mikuni Wild Harvest in Washington. If you purchase as part of the CSA it was $4.99 for 2 oz which is was for two heads. To purchase it direct from Mikuni Wild Harvest it is $29.95/lb. The CSA has marked it up but it comes in smaller quantities than a pound.
How do you use black garlic? Let us know as a comment below.