Black garlic is becoming increasingly popular in the United States, especially as an ingredient used in high-end cuisines.
So, what makes black garlic special? The answer lays in its flavor and its numerous benefits.
This guide covers everything you need to about this specialty food including how to make it and where to buy it.
Black Garlic History
The origin of black garlic (BG) remains uncertain. There are several theories regarding its origin.
A study published in the Journal of Food and Drug Analysis states that the exact origins of black garlic are unknown and controversial. However, black garlic has long been consumed in South Korea, Japan, and Thailand for centuries, and was introduced into Taiwan and other countries around 10 years ago.
Some theories point to Japan, where a scientist trying to reduce the traditional aroma of the white garlic accidentally altered the properties of this food changing its smell, coloration and health benefits.
What Is Black Garlic?
Black garlic is a 100% natural product, obtained through a process of heat and humidity that is applied to common garlic.
The dark appearance, pleasant taste on the palate and odorless characteristics of the black garlic is a result of a chemical reaction known as the “Maillard reaction.”
It is made by heating whole bulbs of regular garlic (Allium sativum) over the course of several weeks, a process that results in black cloves. Due to its process, the strong flavor of white garlic is reduced by 95% and it can be eaten raw or cooked.
What does black garlic taste like?
The process gives black garlic a sweet taste (hints of balsamic vinegar or tamarind) and alters their consistency to chewy and jelly-like
Who Produces & Sells The Best Black Garlic?
Los Rancheros Mexico is one of the nation’s top producers of garlic, Established in 1946, they have forged a rich tradition in the cultivation, commercialization, and export of garlic and other agricultural products. Los Rancheros’ garlic count with FDA approval among other quality and safety certifications. Learn more here.
BLACK GARLIC BENEFITS
Several studies have reported that black garlic offers powerful health benefits. The benefits of consuming black garlic include:
- Anticarcinogenic effects
In 1990, Designer Foods Program listed garlic at the top of cancer-fighting candidates.
Black Garlic Nutrition Facts
Black garlic is also a good source of calories, protein, fiber, iron, vitamin C and calcium. Learn about the nutritional properties of BG below.
Black Garlic vs White Garlic
Is black garlic better than white garlic?
When compared with fresh garlic, black garlic does not release a strong offensive flavor owing to the reduced content of allicin. Enhanced bioactivity of black garlic compared with that of fresh garlic is attributed to its changes in physicochemical properties.
As far as the health claims are concerned, this study and comparison table may shed light on how much more beneficial black garlic is compared to white garlic.
The study reported that water-soluble sugars, amino acids, total polyphenols, and flavonoids increased or decreased during the thermal processing of converting white garlic to BG.
Take a look at the following table where the components of black and fresh garlic are compared.
Components of black garlic compared with fresh garlic Original concentration Water-soluble sugar Increased 1.88–7.91-fold 450 mg/g Polyphenol Increased 4.19-fold 13.91 mg GAE/g Flavonoid Increased 4.77-fold 3.22 mg RE/g Amadori & Heyns Increased 40–100-fold 10 μg/g Fructan Decreased 0.15–0.01-fold 580 mg/g Leucine Increased 1.06-fold 58.62 mg/100 g Isoleucine Increased 1.67-fold 50.04 mg/100 g Cysteine Decreased 0.58-fold 81.06 mg/100 g Phenylalanine Increased 2.43-fold 55.64 mg/100 g Tyrosine Decreased 0.18-fold 449.95 mg/100 g
GAE = gallic acid equivalents; RE = rutin equivalents. (Source: Science Direct)
Black Garlic Recipe
This black garlic Pappardelle Pasta recipe highlights the unique and delicious flavor of the often mysterious BG.
Pappardelle Pasta Recipe
- 1 pound dry Pappardelle pasta (see notes)
- about 3 tablespoons olive oil , for the pasta and the pan
- 3/4 cup shallots, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup black garlic cloves (about 2 heads)
- 3/4 cup dry white wine
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water. Drain the pasta, toss with a bit of olive oil, cover and set aside.
- Coat the bottom of a medium to large sauté pan with olive oil, and place it over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until they are soft and beginning to brown, about 4 minutes.
- While the shallots are cooking, peel all the garlic and then roughly chop it, keeping it in relatively large chunks.
- Add the garlic and toss it with the shallots. Then add the wine, turn the heat to high, and let it reduce by about 1/3.
- Add the butter and swirl the pan around until it’s melted into the wine.
- Season generously to taste with salt and pepper.
- Add the cooked pasta to the pan and very gently, toss everything together. (If the pan isn’t big enough, pour everything into a large bowl to mix it.)
- Season to taste again if necessary, and serve.
Source: Cooking On The Weekends
Where to Buy Black Garlic?
You may find black garlic in the specialty section of the produce department at your local grocery store. If you can’t find it and want to see what it’s all about, you can order it from Los Rancheros Mexico, a well established agricultural company.
In the past few years, high-end chefs have drawn much attention to black garlic, who have been using it to flavor chicken, fish, soup, and risotto. BG’s popularity has spread to the United States as it has become a sought-after ingredient used in high-end cuisine.
Whether you are an avid chef looking to experiment with new ingredients or you sell fresh produce, be sure to jump on the black garlic growing trend.