What Is Black Garlic And How To Make It – Fermenter vs CrockPot

What Is Black Garlic And How To Make It – Fermenter vs CrockPot

By Jen Evansy / October 15, 2018

Black garlic does look like it has just survived a house fire but it has been a key ingredient in Asia and Korea for a long time as both a culinary staple and health supplement. It has twice the antioxidants of raw #garlic and has a lovely unique taste.

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Black Garlic

It is rather popular among many chefs due to its sweeter and gentler flavor compared to the raw white garlic. Lately, black garlic has also gained a lot of interest and curiosity for its many benefits.

Made from standard culinary garlic, Allium sativum, black garlic, Allium nigrum, could offer many of the same benefits as raw garlic, from preserving cognitive function to protecting heart health and so much more.

It has a distinct texture, taste, aroma and elevated concentration of antioxidants. It is delicious and more versatile compared to a clove of regular raw garlic.

How Is Black Garlic Made?

Black garlic is made from fermented bulbs of raw fresh culinary garlic in a humidity controlled environment.

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Black garlic is prepared by allowing regular garlic to ferment in temperatures ranging anywhere from 135-165 degrees Fahrenheit (60-75 degrees in Celsius) for three to five weeks.

During this time period, it goes through a chemical process called Maillard reaction, which occurs between amino acids and reducing sugars. The process of fermentation changes the tone of garlic and renders very distinct flavor, aroma, and texture. Most importantly, this process greatly enhances the wholesome nutritional value of garlic.

Chart for how to make black garlic

Stages throughout the fermentation process.

What Makes It Better Than Regular Garlic?

Besides the fact that black garlic is a tasty ingredient, it has many amazing health benefits. It is packed with antioxidants like fresh garlic but is much more powerful as the fermentation doubles its antioxidants. #BlackGarlic

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black garlic vs regular garlic

Black garlic has almost double the content of allicin then regular garlic and as a higher content of antioxidants and is rich in amino acids.

The key bioactive component of regular garlic is allicin. However, black garlic does not contain allicin. It has enzymes called alliin and alliinase. Allicin is released only when garlic is crushed or chopped. This compound is responsible for the spicy and pungent aroma of the fresh garlic.

Allicin is an unstable compound and breaks down within minutes. When the regular garlic is fermented, allicin converts into S-allyl-cysteine (SAC). This compound is responsible for the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-diabetic properties.

The actual nutritional content depends on the fermentation process. It has been shown that some key nutritional components such as flavonoids and polyphenol are increased during the aging process.

To view a detailed nutritional value comparison for black garlic vs raw one check out the Department of Agriculture Food Products Database here for BG and here for RG.

According to Taoism, black garlic has been given the reputation of granting immortality and compared to regular garlic, black garlic has double the amount of antioxidants and it is also a great source of probiotics.

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What Are The Benefits?

It is a storehouse of nutrients and is considered as a superfood and offers a wide range of benefits. Some of them include:

  1. Provides Antioxidants
  2. Boosts Heart Health
  3. Reduces Inflammation
  4. Relief From Allergy
  5. Protects Cognitive Function
  6. Stabilizes Blood Sugar
  7. Kicks Up Your Immunity
  8. Provides Vitamins
List of Benefits of Black Garlic

1. Has Lot Of Antioxidants

It is loaded with antioxidants. Antioxidants play an important role in maintaining health and well being. They help fight free radicals to prevent oxidative stress and cell damage. Antioxidants are also known to reduce the risk of developing some chronic conditions.

2. Could Improve Heart Health

A recent study conducted on animals assessed the effects of raw and black garlic on recovery from damage caused by ischemia, a condition characterized by a lack of blood supply to the heart. It was found that both regular garlic and black garlic had a positive effect on heart health and were effective in reducing damage to the heart. Studies have also shown that black garlic can lower triglycerides and cholesterol levels thereby reducing the risk of heart disease. A study conducted at Penn State University has shown that S-allyl cysteine from garlic inhibited cholesterol synthesis.

3. May Reduce Inflammation

Research has revealed that fermented garlic contains as many as 100 bioactive compounds. One of the most popular anti-inflammatory agents S-allyl cysteine is found in black garlic. Due to the high concentration of these compounds, black garlic is known to be highly potent in reducing inflammation.

4. Relief From Allergy

A Korean study has shown that black garlic may deter allergy and inflammation causing genes. However, the study was conducted on animals, so we cannot say with certainty that it will have the same effect on humans as well.

5. May Preserve Brain Health

It could have a positive effect on cognitive health. It is rich in antioxidants and can reduce inflammation, so it may help the prevention of cognitive conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. A study conducted on rats has revealed that aged garlic could improve memory and reduce inflammation of the brain. Another study has shown that black garlic can protect against oxidative stress and prevent memory impairment.

6. Could Stabilize Blood Sugar

Adding it to your diet may help maintain healthy blood sugar levels. This could prevent diabetes and other chronic illnesses that stem from high blood glucose levels. Research has indicated that black garlic extract may be effective in lowering triglycerides and blood cholesterol, and blood sugar levels as well. Another study has shown that levels of antioxidants in it can prevent diabetes-related complications.

7. Boosts Immunity

The immune system helps prevent illness, infections and even chronic conditions. Due to its high antioxidants levels could enhance immunity by reducing inflammation, fighting free radical and preventing oxidative damage. In fact, compared to regular garlic, it exhibits stronger antioxidant and anticancer properties and is more powerful in boosting immunity.

8. Provides Vitamins

Scientists have conducted studies to assess the effect of the curing process on vitamin levels. It was found that heat used to convert regular garlic into fermented garlic helps concentrate the vitamins. The total water-soluble vitamin content is 1.15-1.92 times higher compared to regular garlic.

How Much Black Garlic To Eat A Day?

I see most often recommended dosage range of black garlic is about 500-1,300mg a day, divided into 3 servings. The minimum dose that is considered effective is one medium size clove consumed 2-3 times a day. Considering a delicious sweet and syrupy taste of it, it is not hard to meet the required dosage and it won't even give you bad breath.

Where To Buy It?

Peeled Gourmet Black Garlic Bulb

Aged garlic is not just more appealing and palatable than the regular one, but it also offers a host of additional health benefits. So, it makes sense to include it in your daily diet.

You probably can not find black garlic in a supermarket near you but you can certainly find some here at Amazon.

However, it can be quite expensive to buy as a ready-made product, although the cost of regular garlic is quite cheap, then the cost of black garlic is so much higher mainly due to its time-consuming fermentation process. But don't worry, you don't need to buy expensive black garlic from the health food shop, keep reading as I will show how you can make it at home using some simple kitchen appliances. 

How To Use It In Food And Cooking?

Cooking with black garlic

Black garlic is often used in cooking, perfect in savory or sweet recipes.

Arguably, black garlic is just as versatile as the regular kind. Go ahead and use it in any dish that calls for roasted garlic. It’s also great for adding extra oomph to savory dishes, such as soups, stews, and dips. Another great option is pureeing it with a dash of olive oil to make garlic paste, a great base for marinades and sauces. And for the most daring, there are many recipes of black garlic desserts out there!

Just like normal garlic, you can find black garlic in powdered form, which is a great quick fix. Look for it on the spice shelf next time you’re shopping for groceries or you can buy it online here. Just a tiny sprinkle of black garlic powder instantly infuses any dish with a unique sweetness. From burgers to pasta and casseroles, the possibilities are endless.

Black Garlic Recipes

There is no limit when it comes to cooking with this tasty ingredient. Here you will find a few easy and delicious recipes incorporating this wonder seasoning.

Best choice
The Best Choice

How To Ferment Black Garlic At Home?

All right, so you want all the health benefits of this tasty ingredient - but how, exactly, do you get your hands on it? There are few stores that sell it, and it is available online for a pretty penny, but did you know?

There are a couple of easy ways to make it at home, using some common appliances almost everyone already has - either a rice cooker or a slow cooker!

In fact, with just a few steps and some patience, you can have black garlic that tastes better than any kind you can find in a store.

Watch this short video below for simple steps on how to make it using a rice cooker.

Step One: Decide how much black garlic do you want to make. Then choose the right size slow cooker or rice cooker for the project.

Step Two: Make sure your bulbs are very dry. Place few sheets of kitchen towel or a small bamboo table mat or a piece of foil at the bottom and then place the bulbs in your slow cooker or rice cooker, and turn on the lowest possible setting. If you’re using a slow cooker, wrap the top in plastic wrap to secure it a little further.

Note: This will start to smell very strongly in a few days. You may want to consider putting it somewhere out of the way because it’s going to be sitting where you plug it in for three weeks.

Step ThreeSet your rice or a slow cooker on the lowest heat setting, it is usually the warm setting. With a rice cooker, DO NOT press the cook rice button. You want only the warm setting.

Garlic after the fermentation process

The process of making black garlic is easy but it takes a bit of patience to achieve that final result.

Step Four:  WAIT.  That’s it. Just wait. It isn’t an exact science, but most people find that three weeks is a good amount of time to wait.

And while you wait, no peeking every day to see how it is doing. For the lovely caramelization to happen, you need to leave it sealed inside the canister of your cooker. So, no checking it for the first 15-20 days - just mark it with the date, and after 20 days you can carefully remove one bulb to check if it has fermented enough. It should be black or very dark brown in color. If it is a light brown place it back in the pot and leave it there for another 10 to 15 days before checking again and then it should be ready for you to enjoy this delicious black garlic goodness!

Store it in the refrigerator, and enjoy!

Aged garlic after 36 days in a crockpot

I usually use my fermenter but I made this patch just to show how easy it is to make it just using a regular crockpot.

Using A Black Garlic Fermenter

If you’d rather not leave your crock pot running for three weeks or the smell becomes unbearable then you can use home fermenter that is equipped with a professional heating and humidity system to ensure it won't try out during the fermentation process.

Watch this video below to learn how the garlic fermenters work.

I do a lot of DIY projects, and one thing I’ve learned the hard way is that sometimes I waste a lot of money trying to DIY something that I could’ve made just fine with the right tools. Having the right tool for the job, in this case, means that this appliance, unlike your rice or slow cooker, is made to be left on for weeks, and so is ultimately safer. It also produces black garlic slightly quicker, which is a huge bonus!

Check out this latest and most popular fermenter that is equipped with a professional humidity and heating system. This garlic fermenter is very easy to use and gives you a very healthy, tasty and preservative free product. 

Summary

  1. To make it, one must leave raw garlic in a temperature-controlled environment (135-165 F) for 3-5 weeks do develop unique flavor and soften up. 
  2. It is higher in antioxidants and certain micronutrients (iron, for instance) compared to untreated garlic. 
  3. It is known for its potential health benefits. 
  4. Has very low-calorie content.
  5. A good source of fiber, sodium, iron and vitamin C.
  6. In addition to purchasing black garlic, you can even try making your own by using a rice cooker, crock-pot or a fermenter; the aging period is 3-5 weeks typically. 

Enjoy black garlic and take advantage of its numerous benefits and a rich nutritional profile!

Have you tried making your own black garlic and what did you use to make it?

If you have any questions about how to use it or how to make it, please also let me know in the comments below.

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About the author

Jen Evansy

Nutritionists, researchers, and writers, interested in everything healthy-living related. Helping you identify the best diets, learn about food and nutrition, to help you live happier, longer and stronger.

  • Healthy Mummy says:

    Fascinating. We’ve got some blood sugar issues in this house, so the anti-diabetic properties are especially appealing. Plus, it’s so hard to find fermented foods that everyone here will eat! I’m definitely going to add some of this to my Amazon wish list and get some the next time I make an order!

  • Galbincea Hartibaciu says:

    It’s not a meal without garlic for me. It is strange that I have never tried or even heard about the fermented version before. I did order some from Amazon, can’t wait to get it already, I am really curious now.

  • I remember when I didn’t even know what that ugly looking thing was, just saw the pictures and I hated it, but now it’s one of my favourite food additions, it’s always on my table.

  • Andjela says:

    Dear Jen, I am a big fan of your work, I already started following you when you were writing for the wellness cooking blog. Please keep up with awesome/phenomenal work and I`ll support you with sharing and talking about you. Many kisses and love to you from Andjela

  • Dan Lund says:

    Very interesting article and useful instructions, Thanks Jen for posting it. Also, could you elaborate how effective is this garlic against vampires? I don’t want to go through the month’s long fermentation and then discover that it’s not working. If you could kindly let us know, better be safe than sorry. Thank You

  • Shanita says:

    Oh man, I was JUST looking at a roasted garlic soup recipe today, and wonder if there were more things I could do with whole garlic bulbs. This seems like the PERFECT job for my smaller sized crockpot. I’ve been looking for a way to add more fermented foods in my diet, and this seems right up my alley!

  • Renu Kumari says:

    This is a quite interesting post. It is strange that everyone knows about regular garlic because it is such a popular culinary ingredient used across the world. And I think everyone should have it on their spice rack not just for its culinary use, but for its medicinal properties as well. I just love it because it contains enzymes, sulphur compounds and a variety of other nutrients including vitamins, minerals and fibre but it seems that black garlic is even more powerful so I really need to try it out.

  • LizzyDizzy says:

    Why white raw garlic has such an offensive strong smell but the black one has no smell at all?

    • Nayana Vinod says:

      The most active compound present in Garlic is allicin, however, allicin is not present in whole garlic. It is produced when it is cut or crushed. It exposes a sulphur compound alliin to alliinase. But black garlic doesn’t have that offensive smell because of the reduced content of allicin.

  • Wow, I’ve never heard of black garlic. I haven’t seen it in any of the shops, farmers market don’t sell it. There is nowhere I could buy it really, nobody sells it. I want to taste it before I start making it at home myself.


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