What is black garlic you ask – let’s see if we can find out.
I hope through the course of this post that I can answer this question for you.
Garlic is a well loved ingredient here in the Arab world but of course in the form most of us know.
Meaning the white cloves with a pungent aroma, and strong flavor, that is part of so many Middle Eastern dishes.
We put garlic in practically everything we make because we love the flavor, and love the bonus that it’s good for us.
Garlic has tremendous health benefits, and has been used over the centuries.
Not only as a culinary ingredient in foods from soups to cooked meats, but also as a medicinal plant.
When a clove of garlic is crushed, chopped, or chewed it creates a compound known as allicin that will provide many health benefits.
A lot of nutrition can be found in garlic, from manganese, vitamins C and B6 to selenium and fiber.
Fresh garlic is good for you.
Some studies have found that regular garlic consumption can lower the incidence of the common cold, and also shorten the duration.
Garlic has also been shown to control blood pressure and lower cholesterol which in turn lowers the chances of heart disease.
Even the antioxidants found in garlic have been found to help prevent dementia, and alzheimer’s disease.
I know from experience that crushed garlic in yogurt can help treat diarrhea and is a very typical household treatment.
We buy our white garlic bulbs straight from farmers in the Jordan Valley in big bunches.
We hang them to dry in a dark and cool place, where they will last for up to a year.
Picture those long braids of garlic.
We will go through 5 or 6 big bunches a year.
Garlic and olive oil are the foods we consume the most of in our household.
Both those ingredients go into most of the dishes we eat.
Now black garlic is something I am beginning to use in my cooking.
Black garlic also appears to have a lot of great benefits like antioxidants that can prevent inflammation in the brain.
Reducing the the chances for developing dementia or alzheimer’s disease.
It appears that eating garlic in any form is a great thing to do to live a better life.
What is Black Garlic?
Black garlic is aged garlic that is heated to 140ºF (60ºC) over a period of several weeks.
What emerges is what looks like a caramelized clove of garlic with the feel of a sticky date.
The heating process facilitates the Maillard reaction, the chemical process that produces the changed flavor.
Black Garlic Benefits
The health benefits of black garlic are numerous.
Including acting as an anti inflammatory, and boosting the immune system.
The processing of the garlic bulbs increases the amount of antioxidants in the garlic.
Black garlic also has all the benefits of raw garlic.
According to the National Cancer Institute garlic can kill off cancer cells.
Garlic improves brain function, protects the heart, and balances blood sugar.
Black garlic extract can also give you the positive effects of black garlic.
And garlic supplements are easily available at pharmacies and health food stores.
How to Use Black Garlic in Cooking
Chefs are always looking for new flavors and textures to use in their cooking.
Black garlic is one that has been emerging over the last few years.
Coming to us from Asian cuisine, black garlic is being used more widely by chefs around the world.
After heat processing the enzymes that give fresh garlic its sharpness will change giving way to a mellow flavor.
Allowing black garlic to be used in the same way roasted garlic is used, as a spread or in dressings.
Mixed into cream cheese or sour cream for a very pleasing dip.
I personally like to include black garlic in risotto, or creamy pasta dishes.
Use black garlic as part of a cheese board with raw garlic, pickled garlic and some strong cheeses.
I like garlic in whatever form, fresh, cooked, smoked, pickled, however you want to give it to me I’ll eat it.
In whatever form you prefer, put your garlic cloves into a small food processor and add olive oil.
Add a little salt and a few fresh basil leaves, process until smooth and creamy.
Serve in a plate with olive oil drizzled on top and eat with fresh crusty bread.
Where to Buy
There’s plenty of places to buy black garlic!
How to Make Your Own
You can either do this in a dehydrator, slow cooker or rice cooker.
Use the dehydrator by wrapping the garlic bulbs in plastic and then wrapping them in aluminium foil.
Set temperature to hold at 140ºF (60ºC) and leave for three weeks.
If you are using a rice or slow cooker set to the ‘warm’ setting and leave for two weeks until the cloves are black and soft.