What is black garlic? How to use and store it?

Black garlic was used as a condiment in Asian cuisine, especially in Korea, and it has spread throughout North America and Europe. Characterized by its black color and is drier than the white garlic.

It is regular white garlic that has undergone a chemical reaction known as Maillard. It has been aged by warming the garlic bulbs at about 140° to 190°F (60° to 87° C) in high humidity, for an extended period of time from 30 to 40 days until the cloves become tender and black in color. The heat creates changes in the amino acids and sugars in the garlic. The flavor of black garlic has the slight tang of tamarind or balsamic vinegar and a mild sweetness that resembles rich molasses with the complexity and umami notes of soy sauce.

Black garlic is composed of important substances and nutrients for healthy bodies, such as vitamins and minerals.

It also contains a large number of amino acids, the basic structural units that make up the body proteins. That is why it is recommended for bones, joints, tendons, or ligaments. It is especially rich in the amino acid cysteine, with antioxidant activity. In addition, black garlic provides all the essential amino acids that the body is not capable of manufacturing and that we must ingest through food.

Some benefits of black garlic are:

  • It acts as a natural antibiotic.
  • The vasodilator substances contained in black garlic can also influence and help reduce headaches and migraines.
  • Antimicrobial activity: its components act against bacteria responsible for some infections.
  • It is a rich source of natural antioxidants, it improves the immune system, and provides a large amount of energy. It helps speed up metabolism and improve blood circulation. It is also antiseptic, antibiotic, diuretic, digestive and expectorant.
  • It cleanses the kidneys and it is a protector of the arteries since it prevents their calcification.
  • It regulates blood sugar, making it ideal for diabetics.
  • It lowers bad cholesterol (LDL) and the level of lipids in the blood.
  • It is energizing and invigorating.
  • It improves brain health.
  • It reduces the risk of heart disease

For its nutritional values and active ingredients, it can be considered a real superfood, a valuable ally in nourishing well-being. It is perfect with meat, fish, cheeses, vegetables but also in risotto, sauces, or soups, as well as a kind of supplement to be included in your daily diet to improve your health.

There are endless possibilities to enjoy the benefits of black garlic in the kitchen.

If you purchase whole bulbs of black garlic you will need to peel the cloves before using, but this takes much less time than peeling fresh garlic. The cloves should easily pull away from the skins. They can be eaten raw or cooked. Once peeled black garlic can be sliced, minced, pureed, or mashed and added to any recipe that uses fresh garlic. 

It can be used in all kinds of simple recipes. For example:

– They are ideal for stirring into stews, and sauteed vegetables;

– Add it sliced when serving a vegetable stir-fry with mushrooms and turmeric or rice; 

– Use it to make your aioli; 

– Saute with a little onion and use it as a garnish;

– Mash it into potatoes, hummus, or other sauces.

Additionally, it can be used to intensify the flavor of marinades and vinaigrettes. The idea is to use it like roasted garlic so we might as well mash it up in oil and use it as a spread on a crostini. Either incorporate it into a dressing or even rub it over chicken before baking.

However, keep in mind that black garlic does not have the pungent flavor of fresh garlic, so its taste can be overwhelmed by other ingredients. You may need to use more black garlic than the ones you use in recipes with simple flavors to let its uniqueness really stand out. Its flavor is often described as similar to figs, dates, molasses, or even beef broth.

How to store the black garlic?

Whole bulbs of unpeeled black garlic can be stored in their packaging at room temperature until opened. Once opened the package should be stored in the refrigerator until the best-by or use-by date. Black garlic will usually last up to one month in the refrigerator.

Peeled whole or diced black garlic cloves and purees should be stored in airtight containers or glass jars in the refrigerator and used by the date indicated on the packaging.

Follow package instructions for other versions (like granulated black garlic), but in general, they are best stored in an airtight container or jar in a cool, dry place.

Where can you buy black garlic?

Black garlic can often be found in specialty supermarkets or health food stores, and in some countries also at small local stores. Nowadays, you can buy it online, on specialized food stores, like Aim.store

Did you taste it?…