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What Is Black Garlic? Here’s Our How-To!

Black garlic is popping up on menus all around. However, this unique ingredient is nothing new. Black garlic has been around for centuries. It looks like regular garlic, except it is inky black. 

The black garlic flavor is just as unique as its appearance. If this distinctive ingredient piques your interest, everything you need to know about making and using black garlic is here!

What is black garlic?

Black garlic is a product of aging regular garlic. 

Garlic bulbs are stored under controlled conditions for weeks to produce black garlic. It requires strictly regulated humidity and temperature to achieve the right consistency, taste, and color of this unique garlic. 

What does black garlic taste like?

Black garlic has a mild, molasses-like flavor. The flavor profile can be described as sweet and syrupy with a hint of tamarind or balsamic vinegar. It must be noted that the taste is not as potent as that of regular garlic. 

The flavor of black garlic also depends on the fresh garlic that was used to make it. If the fresh garlic has low sugar content, black garlic will have an acidic flavor, resembling tomato paste. On the other hand, fresh garlic with high sugar content will produce a mild and sweet, caramel-like flavor. 

How to make black garlic?

Making black garlic is an easy but lengthy process. Here’s how to do it!

  1. Use the coarse side of a new sponge scrub garlic bulbs and remove any dirt. Do not peel the bulb or separate the cloves. Also, avoid washing the bulbs with water.
  2. Set a slow pressure cooker on warm settings. Maintain temperature between 60°C to 90°C to age the bulbs without cooking them.
  3. Place the bulb inside the cooker. Make sure you leave some space between the bulbs. The bulbs should not touch each other as they are heated.
  4. Cover the slow cooker and allow the bulbs to rest in the heat until they turn black and tender. This should take around three weeks.
  5. Check the slow cooker regularly to make sure it is set on warm, not low-temperature settings. Once ready, remove from the cooker.

How to tell when black garlic is done

When making black garlic in a slow cooker, it can be hard to tell when black garlic is ready. The bulbs will turn black and hard after about two weeks. However, it’s still too early to remove them from heat. Wait until the cloves begin to shrivel a bit. Once that happens, use your finger to see if the bulbs are tender. If the bulbs are soft and spongy, your black garlic is ready!

How to use black garlic?

Black garlic was initially used in Asian cuisines. However, its popularity spread in the last few years, and today, it is found in kitchens almost all around the world. While some people enjoy eating it raw, others prefer eating it with bread. It is also used to prepare soup, bruschetta, chicken-based dishes, vegetable-based dishes, and sauces. Black garlic goes well with cheese and makes a great addition to cheese plates and even (pizza)[]. You can also use it to make a delicious vinaigrette with unique flavors. It is recommended to get creative while using black garlic. Try pairing it up with different dishes!Owing to its mild and muted flavor, black garlic is also generally used in a considerably larger amount than regular garlic. One way to add the subtle taste of black garlic is to knead a peeled clove until the structure breaks down lightly. Dissolve it in a small quantity of hot water and mix the solution in the otherwise neutral dishes, such as mashed potatoes. 

How to store black garlic?

Storing black garlic is simple. All you need to do is place the bulbs in an airtight container. Store the container in a cool and dry place. 

When stored properly, you can continue using black garlic for up to three months. 

The bottom line

There’s a lot of reasons why more and more people are talking about black garlic. But if there’s one thing that is shared by them, it is its pleasant taste and texture. Ultimately, making black garlic is a long but rewarding process. Now that you know what black garlic is and how to prepare it, you can make it today and enjoy it whenever you want!