What is Black Garlic?
Do you know garlic? I guess your answer will be yes. But I assume the garlic you know is the white garlic you are used to. But I am referring to the black garlic, which is more beneficial and a flavorful way to achieve a more satisfying meal. It is beginning to make a wave in the culinary industry, and due to its incredible health benefits, I think it is essential you know about them, especially if you are a more adventurous eater.
Going into a little bit of long history about black garlic, its use as a high valued medicinal and culinary product was more popular in Asian countries like Korea, Japan, and Thailand. Korea is often said to be the place where black garlic originated from, where its process was thought to have been developed over several centuries.
According to historical records, black garlic was said to be used as a diuretic, antibiotic, digestive aid, anti-parasitic, and a wide range of several other ailments. It is widely known for the anti-oxidant properties it possesses.
Today, black garlic is mostly used for its exceptional flavor and texture as a superior quality ingredient. It is also becoming more popular for its nutritional value that, in a way, cannot be compared to raw garlic. Black Garlic simply refers to aging fresh garlic that has gone through a long time of fermentation process under highly controlled temperature and humidity.
The properties of a typical Black Garlic as compared to raw garlic include the following;
- Higher in Anti-oxidants
- Easier to digest
- Sweet and Tangy
- No Garlic breath
- Mild immune Boosting effects
- Higher in some minerals
The Health Benefits of Black Garlic
As you might have been informed already, garlic, in general, is discovered to possess a good number of health benefits. Some of the health benefits of black garlic are discussed below;
- It helps to lower Cholesterol
Cholesterol is vital to the human body, but at the same causes heart disease when it is too high. Research has shown that black garlic has an excellent ability to lower the bad cholesterol, that is, the LDL cholesterol. This ability to lower LDL cholesterol helps to reduce the risk of stroke, heart disease, and premature death.
Black garlic has a higher concentration of some compounds as compared to raw garlic, such as the S-allyl cysteine compound which is a natural component of raw garlic and a derivative of amino acid cysteine. It has been discovered via a scientific study that people who had a daily intake of black garlic extract for a minimum of 3 months had a significant reduction in their LDL while increasing the good cholesterol. It was also found out that protein B present in the blood lipids was lowered, which is a strong sign of reducing the risk of heart disease.
- It helps to strengthen the Immune system
For various diseases and infections to be prevented, the immune system has to be strong. That is, the stronger the immune system is, the stronger the fight against infections and diseases in the body system. Black garlic can be a vital ingredient in the diet of a person with a weak immune system as it helps strengthen the system. The white blood cells responsible for the immune response of the body are better stimulated with an intake of black garlic.
- Protection against diseases
Researchers have found black garlic to contain just as twice of the anti-oxidant properties present in raw garlic. These anti-oxidants are present to protect the body cells against an invasion and also slow down the aging process. Studies are still being conducted to determine how effective black garlic can be in fighting against chronic diseases.
- Lowers blood pressure
Black garlic also contains a high level of organosulfur compounds. These compounds are present in forms of diallyl sulfide, diallyl disulfide, and diallyl trisulfide. These organosulfur compounds in black garlic help to relax the blood vessels, which consequently lower the blood pressure in the body. It is usually suggested for patients with high blood pressure to take 2 to 4 black garlic containing tablets daily.
- Fights against Cancer
One significant health impact of black garlic is its ability to fight against cancer in the body. Any part of the body can be affected by cancer, and it is as a result of rapid cell division, growth, and multiplication. Black garlic is often administered to cancer patients medically offering a longer life span as it fights against cancer.
Black garlic can reduce the growth and multiplication of cancer cells in the body. It helps in controlling cancer conditions such as liver, colon, lung, stomach, and breast cancers. Black garlic prevents the proteins involved in the rapid cell division from being produced by getting rid of the signals that produce the proteins.
- Black Garlic May Help Diabetics
Black garlic has also been found to have the ability to treat diabetes by regulating the level of sugar in the blood. It helps to reduce the effects of some complications that come with diabetes. The more the antioxidants present in black garlic, the higher the rate of curing diabetes when taken. Black garlic possesses just the right amount to cure diabetes.
- Contains Vitamins and other nutrients
The compound, allicin, which is responsible for the health benefits of garlic in general, is also present in black garlic. Black garlic contains a lesser amount (about 30 times less) of S-allyl-cysteine which could be dangerous to the body in large amounts. Black garlic also contains a good amount of phosphorus that aids in building strong bones and teeth.
This phosphorus present in black garlic also helps in the facilitation of nerve conduction and filter out body waste in the kidneys as well as other several functions. Studies have also shown that black garlic also contains vitamins and minerals which are beneficial to the body such as calcium, magnesium, selenium, and vitamins C and B-6.
- Reduces Allergic Reactions
Black garlic also helps to get rid of any form of allergic reactions. Allergies can be due to genes or environmental conditions, and they can be quite uncomfortable. The enzymes that create inflammatory components (such as prostaglandins) are weakened with the help of black garlic rendering the allergies inactive. There is also a break down in Cytokines- which are the main promoters of cell death, inflammation, and swelling in the body. A reduction in their levels also occurs by the antioxidant SAC that is present in the black garlic.
How to Make Black Garlic
As earlier stated, black garlic is primarily produced by fermentation due to the presence of sugar and amino acids, as part of the elements contained in garlic. The moment garlic undergoes fermentation; these elements generate melanoidin, a dark-colored substance which is responsible for the color pigment of black garlic.
The garlic bulbs are kept in an environment with controlled humidity. You should maintain a temperature ranging from 140 to 170 °F (60 Degree Celsius to 77 Degree Celsius) for about 60 to 90 days with no form of burning done or preservative added. The real deal happens during the carefully controlled process. The process is explained in the DIY step-by-step guide below:
- Step 1
Gather the ingredients – 6 to 7 whole unpeeled garlic bulbs
- Step 2
Ensure to get rid of any dirt by scrubbing the garlic bulbs gently with the rough part of a clean sponge. Make sure the cloves are not removed from the bulb and do not let the bulbs get wet as this will affect the aging process.
- Step 3
Get the fermenter or slow cooker to warm. The warm setting offers just the right temperature and humidity needed for the aging process without cooking. You must be aware that even though the garlic is not cooking, a strong garlic odor will be present throughout the process.
- Step 4
Put the whole unpeeled garlic bulbs in the fermenter or cooker. Do not let it be overcrowded, that is, ensure there is enough space in between the garlic bulbs so as not to touch one another.
- Step 5
Let the garlic bulbs be placed uninterrupted on the “warm” setting for like 2 to 3 weeks until the cloves are black and soft. Make sure to be checking the fermenter or slow cooker from time to time to ensure the setting is still on the “warm” and not “low,” or it has not turned off.
- Step 6
When they are ready, let the soft and black garlic bulbs be stored in an airtight container for close to like three months. After then, Squeeze out the cloves as needed.
Choosing what kind of garlic to use; as long as the head of the garlic is round, you can choose to use the red, white or other kinds of garlic. Just make the garlic cloves are not rotten, and the rounded head is still very much intact. And also remember that the garlic should be clean and dry before you start the fermentation process.
Black Garlic Fermenter
Not going for the traditional method of fermenting your garlic, that is where the fermenter comes in. Having the best fermenter is one critical aspect of the fermentation process of black garlic. A fermenter helps to ensure that the right amount of temperature and humidity is kept and also to ensure that you get your desired product and taste. So it will be to you a greater advantage and convenience to have a machine that can ferment your garlic bulbs for you automatically.
The Aging Periods and Temperature Ranges
The main factors that influence the taste and features of black garlic are aging period and temperature. The aging period of garlic is shorter at higher temperatures and vice versa.
- 140 F or 60 C
The minimal temperature rate is 140F (60C). At this temperature, you will need to ferment garlic for several weeks. The color of garlic will be not completely black. It will be sweeter than garlic aged on a higher temperature, but the content of main antioxidant compounds of black garlic will be the lower. In general, we do not recommend to use this temperature to ferment black garlic.
- 158 F or 70 C
The difference in 18F degrees (10C) significantly changes the whole process and the result. At this temperature, the speed of aging is twice faster than that at 140F (60C). The quality of black garlic is better, and it will have a uniform black color. It is still will be a bit sweet, but the content of the main antioxidant will increase considerably.
- 176 F or 80 C
One more time, the higher temperature will cut the aging time, but it will be harder to control the quality of black garlic. At this temperature rate, it is difficult to find the best taste because of fluctuating phenol content and reducing sugar content. By fermenting garlic on this temperature or higher, you have a risk to get bitter and sour flavors.
To summarize the “How to Cook Black Garlic” part, we will point out that you have to use dry and clean garlic. The best temperature of fermentation is 158F (70C) and aging period is about three weeks. You have to check the garlic several times, to be sure that it is still soft and elastic. Otherwise, black garlic will become hard to eat.
What is Black Garlic Oil?
Black garlic oil, popularly known as Mayu in Japanese, has its origin from East Asian cooking. It is majorly found in Korean and Japanese kitchens. Black garlic oil is a nourishing oil that is also used to enhance the growth of hair; reduces the loss of hair and stops it in time.
The production of black garlic oil involves a long and arduous process. Its production is done in two ways.
You can leave the garlic bulb in a fermenter or a rice cooker for several days or weeks with constant heat and humidity. This process will blacken it and bring about different flavors not found in the original state, the raw garlic.
Alternatively, you can opt for a second method; perhaps you are short on time, which is quicker but more labor-intensive. This method involves cooking garlic on low heat on a stovetop for a long time, say several hours.
After each method, then you will compress the head to extract the oil after the garlic bulb has blackened.
Black garlic oil is taken with several Asian recipes such as ramen. It is added to ramen to give a new dimension of flavors and also enhance the existing flavors with a subtly sweet and smoky taste, enriching the broth.
Black Garlic Recipes
With time, black garlic is seen as an ingredient used in kitchens and not only in Asia but across several countries in the world. Black garlic can be used in different exciting ways as part of the diet, although, possessing a totally unique taste. Here are some of the ways to bring black garlic into your kitchen experience:
- You can mash some cloves of black garlic with some chili and soy sauce. This can serve as an alternative stir-fry sauce.
- You can combine herbs and cream cheese with black garlic cloves for a tasty dip.
- You can blend some black garlic cloves with mayo and serve with burgers or chips.
- You can mix a homemade tomato sauce with some crushed black garlic cloves and spread as a sauce base on a pizza or use with pasta
- You can add a sprinkle of water to black garlic cloves and blend with a good quality olive oil for an alternative salad dressing
- You can dip black garlic cloves into melted dark chocolate to give a sweet taste sensation
- You can slice your black garlic cloves thinly and use to top salads
- You can also add black garlic to cheese on toast for a unique twist
- You can crush some black garlic cloves with oil to create a thick liquid or paste then smear onto fish or chicken before roasting
- You can mash a few black garlic cloves into a meatball mixture
Black garlic is undoubtedly a fantastic product or ingredient that is useful in so many ways as you have seen in this article. It is not so surprising that the demand for black garlic is increasing day after day because of its benefits.
Black garlic is not only used as a medicinal ingredient but used in culinary adventures too depending on your knowledge to it. There is so much about black garlic and its uses that you may want to know about. May I suggest you read more about it?