Garlic is a widely used culinary ingredient that is known for its strong, pungent flavor and medicinal properties. It has been used as a natural remedy for various ailments such as the common cold, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular diseases. However, have you heard about black garlic? This fermented version of garlic is slowly gaining popularity around the world. In this blog post, we will take a deeper dive into everything you need to know about black garlic.
What is black garlic?
Black garlic is a fermented version of regular garlic that is made by exposing whole bulbs of garlic to heat and humidity over several weeks or even months. During the fermentation process, the garlic cloves turn black, and their texture becomes softer and chewier. Black garlic has a sweet, mild taste and a slightly caramelized flavor that is often compared to balsamic vinegar or molasses.
How is black garlic made?
The process of making black garlic is similar to how soy sauce, miso, and other fermented foods are made. Fresh garlic bulbs are placed in a humidity-controlled environment with temperatures ranging from 140 to 170 degrees Fahrenheit. This low heat and high humidity environment enable the garlic to undergo a Maillard reaction, which is a chemical reaction that turns the sugars in the garlic into melanoidin, giving it the characteristic black color and flavor. The fermentation process can take anywhere between two to four weeks, depending on the desired texture and flavor of the black garlic.
What are the health benefits of black garlic?
Black garlic contains a higher concentration of antioxidants than regular garlic. Antioxidants are known to help reduce inflammation, prevent cellular damage, and boost the immune system. Moreover, black garlic is rich in compounds like S-allylmercaptocysteine (SAMC) and S-allylcysteine (SAC), which have been shown to lower cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, and improve brain function.
How to use black garlic in cooking?
Black garlic can be used in the same way as regular garlic. However, due to its sweet, caramelized flavor, it is best suited for use in dishes that require a subtle flavor, such as dressings, marinades, and sauces. It can also be used as a topping on pizzas, burgers, and salads. Black garlic can also be mashed and spread on bread, crackers, or other snacks.
Where to buy black garlic?
Black garlic can now be found in most specialty food stores and at our farm. However, due to its labor-intensive manufacturing process, black garlic can be quite expensive compared to regular garlic. Nevertheless, it is worth trying out this unique culinary ingredient for its nutritional and culinary benefits.