Originated in Asia, black garlic has become an energizing superfood that gained a lot of attention worldwide. Not only does it taste good raw due to its sweet taste, but it also has a lot of health benefits.
Black garlic is an aged food made from regular white garlic. It has been aged in a controlled heat and humid condition, ideally at 70°C to 80°C, for about 11 days to 3 weeks time. As the garlics go through a steady heating process for a certain period of time, the color of the cloves will gradually turn darker and become inky black at the end of the process. This heating process causes a Maillard reaction on the garlics and changes the overall flavor. Maillard reaction causes food to char and turns brown. You can find an example of Maillard reaction on all kinds of food like roast meat, toast, beer, caramel, and others.
In Japan, black garlic was developed for the first time in Mie Prefecture in 2004. Later in 2006, Aomori Prefecture that produces about 70% of the total garlic production in Japan, started to develop black garlic as well and became one of Japan’s prefectures that is famous for black garlic production.
What Does It Taste Like?
Black garlic has a soft chewy texture and a sweet taste. The taste is said to be similar to dates or prunes with a slight hint of umami. That’s why black garlic is tastier to eat raw than the white counterpart. The sweet taste and soft texture of black garlic may come as a surprise for some people as some thought that black garlic is a natural variant of garlic, therefore thinking it has a similar taste to garlic. In reality, black garlic is not something you can grow, it’s an aged product of raw white garlic.
Different from raw garlic, black garlic doesn’t have that much of a pungent smell. Even though the garlics will release an unpleasant smell during the aging process, the finished product will have a more subtle aroma to it. You don’t have to worry about garlic breath after eating black garlic because the aging process will remove garlic odor by eliminating the sulfur compounds.
Black Garlic VS White Garlic
Strong taste, slightly spicy.
Great to use as a cooking ingredient but rather unpleasant to eat raw.
The spicy taste of garlic is gone, the flavor is rather sweet like dried fruit.
Almost no smell. Especially when it is sun dried after finished aging.
Black Garlic Nutrition And Benefits
After going through an aging process, black garlic that is made from already nutritious raw garlic bulbs, will have even more nutritions and double the amount of antioxidants. Other than the interesting taste, a lot of people also consume black garlic for the health benefits.
Compared to regular garlic, black garlic contains:
16 times S-Allylcysteine
3 times Arginine
6 times Polyphenol
2 to 7 times Amino Acid
Black garlic has been linked to various benefits due to its rich health promoting compounds. Here are some of them:
Health Benefit 1 Arginine
Black garlic has 3 times the amount of arginine when compared to regular garlic. Arginine itself is a type of amino acid. It is proven to have an antihypertensive effect on the human body. Arginine also plays a role in helping blood arteries to dilute and smoothen blood flow.
Other benefits that can be gained from arginine consumption includes:
- Promotes collagen production
- Improves immunity
- Suppress the rise of blood sugar level
- Enhances wound healing
Health Benefit 2 Polyphenol
Health Benefit 3 Amino Acid
Amino acid plays a role in the blackening of black garlic. After aging, the amount of amino acid in black garlic will multiply from 2 to 7 folds.
Consuming amino acids will have a lot of energizing and recovery benefits:
- Boosts exercise performance
- Prevent fatigue
- Keep the body from muscle loss
Health Benefit 4 S-Allylcysteine
Black garlic is known to have less to no strong off-flavor like regular garlic. This is caused by compound changes in the garlic bulbs after a heating process. During the aging, a compound responsible for strong odor called allicin is turned into water soluble antioxidants compounds. One of them is S-allylcysteine.
Physicochemical and antioxidant properties of black garlic
S-allylcysteine is known as a potent antioxidant agent and has anti aging properties. Not only does it promote health benefits, but it also has a great effect on skin.
The main benefits of S-allylcysteine also include,
- Help to prevent health problems caused by an unhealthy lifestyle
- Fatigue recovery
- Prevent sugar diabetes
- Reduce the risk of stroke and neurodegenerative damage
Black Garlic Products
If eating black garlic raw is not your thing, you can still enjoy the health benefits of black garlic by trying a wide range of black garlic products.
Black Garlic Supplement Pills
There are also supplement products made from black garlic extract. Easier to consume for people who don’t like eating black garlic.
Black Garlic Vinegar
Black garlic vinegar can be used as a marinade, dressing, or dipping sauce. Adding black garlic to black vinegar will add depth and sweetness to the taste.
How To Use Black Garlic
Depending on your body condition, the recommended consumption is about 1-3 black garlic cloves per day but it may vary for each person. But black garlic is not a medicine per se, so there is no fixed measurement that you should follow to consume black garlic.
Black garlic is considered as an energizing superfood therefore eating it in the morning or before exercise can give you the extra energy that you need.
Eating a lot of regular garlic raw may cause discomfort in your stomach. This is probably caused by allicin, an antimicrobial component in garlic that has a sterilization effect on the guts. Black garlic also contains allicin, but it also has a high concentration of S-Allylcysteine. This compound has been proven to assist the body in the absorption of allicin and minimize the chance of gastric distress. Therefore you can eat black garlic raw without gastric side effects.
All in all, there are relatively no dangerous side effects from eating black garlic. Just make sure to eat in moderation.
How To Eat Black Garlic
Eat it raw
In Japan, most people would just eat black garlic as it is. Black garlic is sweet and won’t leave an unpleasant odor in your mouth. Making it ideal to eat raw.
Use as a topping
The charming sweet taste of black garlic can be an additional topping to your cooking. From pizza to salad, black garlic bits can add that earthy sweet bite to your cooking.
Use as a seasoning
Mash black garlic and mix them with a stick of butter, use them as a compound butter for steak. You can also whisk pureed black garlic with vinaigrette and use the mix as a salad dressing.
Ingredient for desserts
Due to the sweet nature of black garlic, some cooks have used it as an ingredient for desserts. There are multiple dessert recipes that incorporate black garlic like pound cake, egg pudding, pastry choux, and other sweet treats.
Recipes Using Black Garlic
Apple Pie With Black Garlic Sprinkles
Using black garlic for sweet recipes may sound a little out there. But black garlic tastes sweet, so it will go along well with other dessert ingredients. Use small to medium sized pie pan for this recipe.
- Black Garlic
- 3 Cloves
- Ready to Use Pastry Sheet
- Medium Sized Apple
- Cinnamon Powder
- ⅛ Tsp
- Egg Yolk (For egg wash)
How to Make
- Peel the apples, get rid of the seed, and cut thinly. Next, peel the black garlic cloves and cut them into small pieces. Don’t forget to grease your pie pan with oil.
- Now, make the apple filling. Grease the frying pan with 20gr of butter and cook the cut up apples on medium high heat until you can see juices coming out from the apples. Add in the sugar.
- Then, add cinnamon powder, stir the apple filling, and close the frying pan with a lid. Let the juices reduce on low heat for about 10 minutes, or until the juices are fully reduced into caramel consistency. When the filling is no longer watery, turn off the stove and let it cool down completely.
- Preheat the oven while assembling the pie. Spread the first pastry sheet on a pie pan. Add in the apple filling, sprinkle small bits of black garlic, and close the pie with the second pastry sheet. For the top sheet, you can decorate it however you want.
- Brush the pie surface with egg wash. And finally, bake the pie for 20 minutes in 200°C until the crust is golden brown.
Salad With Japanese Black Garlic Dressing
Instead of using tomatoes, lettuce, and cucumber, you can also make this salad with your favorite vegetables.
- Black Garlic
- 3 Cloves
- Sesame Oil
- 4 Tbsp
- Balsamic Vinegar
- 2 Tbsp
- Japanese Soy Sauce
- 2 tablespoons
- Salt And Pepper
- as needed
- Tomatoes (medium sized)
- Romaine Lettuce
- 1 Head
How to Make
- Cut the vegetables into bite sized pieces. Add them to a bowl.
- Mix sesame oil, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, and black garlic. While stirring, smash the black garlics (You can also just cut them into tiny bits instead of smashing them). Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour the dressing on the vegetables and stir the salad.
Black Garlic Tuna Pate
This recipe is easy to make and perfect for parties. You can use your favorite bread as a base for the pate
- Black Garlic
- 1 Head
- Canned Tuna
- 1 Small Can
- Olive Oil
- 1 Tbsp
- Salt and Pepper
- as needed
How to Make
- Peel the black garlic and take the tuna out from the can. Drain the tuna from its water or oil.
- Put black garlics and tuna in a bowl. Mash the garlics as you add olive oil. Mix until the pate reaches a smooth consistency. Add salt and pepper to your liking.
- Black garlic tuna pate is done and ready to be spread on bread.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How to grow black garlic?
You can’t grow black garlic. Black garlic is a product of raw regular garlic that has been aged in a controlled heat and humid environment.
- Is black garlic healthy?
Yes. It is more nutritious than regular garlic and is considered as an energizing superfood.
- Does black garlic leave garlic odor?
No. During the aging process, garlic odor is usually eliminated. That is why you can eat raw black garlic without having to worry about garlic breath.
- How much black garlic should I eat in a day?
There is no fixed suggestion on how much black garlic you should eat per day. Depending on your body condition, you can eat 1-3 per day. But there is no significant side effect if you eat more than that in a day. Just make sure to avoid overeating black garlic.
- When should I eat black garlic?
Black garlic is especially great to eat when you need to have extra energy in the morning or recover your energy at night. You can also eat black garlic about a couple of hours before exercise.
- How to properly store black garlic?
There are three ways of storing black garlic.
Wrap in a newspaper or paper bag, keep it in a cool place away from direct sunlight. If you made the black garlic yourself, the quality may differ. But store bought black garlic may last 1~2 month at room temperature.
Keep in a ziplock bag or any airtight container and put inside the fridge. First, let the container open to let out the warm temperature of black garlic, after that you may close it. This storing technique will let the black garlic last up to 6 months.
Put black garlic inside a ziplock bag and store it in a freezer. Before keeping it in a freezer, you can peel the garlic or let the skin intact. Black garlic doesn’t freeze easily, so you can eat them after you take it out of the freezer or after returning it to room temperature. Storing black garlic in a freezer will allow the black garlic to last a year.
- Does black garlic oil, the one that is used as ramen broth flavoring, contains black garlic?
Generally no. Black garlic oil, or Maayu in Japanese, is made with fried burnt white garlic that is blended with oil. It is not made from aged garlic.
- Matsuyama Herb Farm's Black Garlic (Made In Aomori Prefecture) 3 x 100g Bag Set
- This black garlic is a product that uses Matsuyama Herb Farm's original method to pursue its deliciousness. Black garlic is a product of aging regular garlic in a controlled heat and humid condition. Unlike raw white garlic, black garlic doesn't have garlic odor. It has a dried fruit like sweetness.
- Price: $28.22
- View Product
- Matsuyama Herb Farm's Aged Black Garlic Soft Capsules (31 Capsules)
- Derived from black garlic that has been aged for 4 weeks and made using Aomori garlic grown with high quality soil and water of Hakkoda mountain. The nutrients are condensed into soft capsules that are easy to drink. You can enjoy it without worrying about the odor of garlic.
- Price: $18.81
- View Product