Until 48 hours ago I wasn’t aware that there was a thing such as black garlic. How provincial of me. I used to believe that garlic was just garlic, white cloves wrapped in a white peel. People either love it (me) or hate it (a bunch of my friends). It’s healthy and...it’s white.
Well, now I know that it’s white but it can also be black, like the Oakland Raiders’ uniforms (minus the silver).
Surprisingly, black garlic has even more health benefits than regular white garlic. Oh yes, and it doesn’t give you bad breath.
I bought two small bulbs at Kalustyans on 28th & Lex. I peeled one, looked at the black cloves in amazement, and tried it...it was good, nothing of what I expected but definitely good.
Let’s talk a little bit about it!
What is black garlic exactly?
Black garlic is not a different variety of garlic. It’s just white garlic that has been fermented at a set temperature for around a month.
To be more precise, the whole bulbs of fresh garlic are placed in a humidity-controlled room at a temperature that ranges from 150 to 175 degrees Farenheit (i.e., 65 to 80 Celcius), from 30 up to 45 days.
After this time, the cloves will have turned black.
However, at this stage, the garlic is not ready to be consumed yet. It wouldn’t taste of much. That is why the fermented garlic is left to oxidize for another 45 days in a clean room.
Then, black garlic is ready to hit the market.
What it tastes like?
Nothing as I would have originally expected. It’s pretty sweet to be honest; and resembles more to dried prunes than garlic. It also recalled me of balsamic vinegar.
I found out that black garlic is considered quite a delicacy, and that it’s a sought-after ingredient in high-end cuisine.
Black garlic health benefits
The health benefits of black garlic are almost the same as white garlic BUT the fermentation process is said to enhance even further the amazing properties of the “regular” one. In a way it can be considered a kind of super-garlic. Or, in mathematical terms, as a to square white garlic.
The compound S-allylcysteine, a natural component of fresh garlic and a derivative of the amino acid cysteine, is found in much greater concentrations in black garlic. This compound is thought to help lower cholesterol and decrease the risk of cancer.
White garlic is praised throughout the world for its anti-microbial, antibiotic and anti-fungal. All properties that are attributed to allicin. Black garlic’s S-allycysteine improves the absorption of allicin, boosting protection against infections.
When it comes to garlic’s antioxidants properties; black garlic has been found to have twice the amount of them if compared to white garlic.
However, the majority of research on black garlic’s health benefits has been conducted on laboratory animals, so there is still a lack of scientific evidence to support the use of black garlic for health purposes on humans.
But if white garlic has been established to have amazing properties why shouldn’t a fermented version of it have it? Only future will tell…
No bad breath worries
Probably one of the best things of black garlic is the fact that the fermentation process reduces garlic’s strong flavor and odor.
This will probably will make it much more appealing to those that are so “sensible” to garlic’s powerful taste.
The strongest argument in favor of black garlic is that it doesn’t causes bad breath nor objectionable perspiration odor. Apparently you can consume hips of it without any side effects.
But let me tell you the truth, I tried to convince one of my roomies to give black garlic a try and I failed miserably. If one doesn’t eat white garlic, it’s very unlikely that he/she will try black garlic. In their minds garlic still remains garlic, no matter if you dress it in black.
How to use it?
I have to confess I kind of enjoyed chewing one clove, as a snack. It’s definitely pleasant, even if the flavor is pretty strong, and I won’t probably go as far as eating more than two cloves back-to-back.
If you have friends over for dinner, serving some black garlic cloves in a small cup will for sure provide a conversation topic for some time. I bet that none of them will be familiar with it.
The rule of thumb is that you one can use black garlic exactly as white garlic (in other words chopped, minced and so on). Thing is, if you spend over 10 bucks for just two garlic’s bulbs (which is ten times more than regular one) you want to make sure that this ingredient pops-out on your dishes.
Plus the black color is really cool.
I browsed on the internet for recipes and I found some that are pretty intriguing. I’m definitely going to try a couple of those over the next week.
If you never tried black garlic I strongly suggest you do. It’s a bit expensive but it’s worth the price. Plus it’s always fun to try new foods.
And as my mum used to tell me when I was a little kid, there’s no harm in trying something new.
The Iron You