Black garlic is a 4,000 year old Korean recipe for curing garlic in order to preserve it and now their latest health trend product. It went mainstream in the U.S. in 2008 and is growing in popularity.
BG is made by a fermentation-type process of exposing garlic to high heat and high humidity for more than a month (usually 35 days). The high heat causes what is known as a Maillard reaction* a caramelization reaction that causes the garlic to turn black.
*The Maillard reaction is a chemical reaction between an amino acid and sugar brought on by the addition of heat. This process results in the browning or caramelization of food.
Although this type of fermentation process does not produce “live bacteria” like probiotics, it does produce a significant amount of disease-fighting anti-oxidants. The most common one being S-allylcysteine; a water-soluble component easily absorbed by the body.
S-allylcysteine is known to naturally lower cholesterol levels, prevent strokes, work as an anti-inflammatory or immune booster and may help reduce diabetic complications.
Black garlic produces as much as 3 times the amount of anti-oxidants as regular garlic, plus it doesn’t exude the strong, “off-putting” odor!
The optimal fermentation time for BG is 21 days as that is when anti-oxidants are at their peak. After that time, they decline a little every day up to the 35 day fermentation period.
Chefs like to use black garlic to make sauces, purees and salad dressings. They also use it as a sandwich spread, in deviled eggs and even to make ice cream. Check out their recipes at http://www.seriouseats.com/2015/09/what-to-do-with-black-garlic.html.
Picture courtesy of restaurantgirl.com