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What is Black Garlic and How do I use it?

Updated: May 6

What The Heck is Black Garlic?

Even though Black Garlic has been around for a few years now, it is still not really "main stream" and many people still do not know what it is and where it comes from. I thought I would do a quick write-up here to explain some of the basics to clear up some misconceptions and demystify this amazing food!

Is Black Garlic from a Different Species of Garlic?

The short answer to that question is no. Black garlic is made from regular white garlic bulbs. You will see several different types used if you buy whole bulb black garlic as it can be made with single clove and multi-clove types. What makes black garlic "black" is a low temperature, higher humidity cooking (140-150f) for a long period of time (3-8 weeks) that produces a deep "maillard reaction" similar the crust that you get on a properly cooked steak. Some claim that it is also "Fermented" but that is usually not the case with most commercially produced black garlic.

Does Black Garlic Taste Different?

Oh Yes! The low temperature and long time cooking allow the garlic to concentrate the sugars, and the amino acids to change the flavor and mellow the out the allicin (the stuff that gives fresh garlic that pungent flavor) so it is much less "garlicky". It also has a more "Umami" taste, which is to say more savory, a little smokey, and sweeter than regular garlic. I usually explain it like the different between regular steak and a slightly dry aged steak.

Is Black Garlic just a different name for roasted garlic?

No. While roasting garlic will caramelize the garlic and soften it up some, it is usually cooked at a much higher heat for a very short time. the low temperature and longer time in the process to make black garlic creates a whole different product for sure!

Are there added health benefits of Black Garlic?

Yes! Although regular garlic has a lot of great health benefits, Black Garlic has even more! The aging process not only concentrates the flavors, it also concentrates most of the nutrients and antioxidants that garlic has. Here is an article WebMD that goes into some of those health benefits.

Why is Black Garlic So Expensive?

Just like the price difference between a regular steak and a dry aged steak, the process of producing black garlic has several factors that make it cost more. First and foremost is the time it takes. The aging process of 3-8 weeks means the product just sits there taking up space for a long time. Same reason longer aged wine or whiskey cost more. But there is also the "shrinkage" factor as well. To produce just one pound of black garlic will take about a pound and half of regular garlic, sometimes more. Also, you have the added costs if you want to completely dry it out and make Black Garlic Powder, as that adds more time and energy. Black garlic powder can cost 3-4 times more to produce than just regular garlic powder! This is the main reason why our seasonings and sauces are a little more expensive than the mass-marketed, cheap ingredient using stuff you find on your grocery store shelves.

What types of Black Garlic are out there?

Black garlic can be found in a few different forms and they can all be used is different ways. The first is in whole bulb form with the skins still on. In this form it is usually very moist and in a paste type texture. People tend to spread this on bread or crackers and eat it like peanut butter. It can also be found in a jar with the cloves peeled with the same texture. You will also find it in a paste type puree that makes it easy to use in recipes for sauces and soups. The last form is in the dry powder form where it is used by itself or used in dry seasonings and other recipes. We use only the best domestically produced black garlic powder and puree in our Fire & Water Cooking Edible Creations seasonings and sauces!

What is Black Garlic good on?

Pretty much anything! It is even more versatile than regular garlic since it is sweeter and has a less pungent flavor so it can even go on ice cream! I have found that it really is a true "All Purpose" seasoning as it will add a great umami kick to all meats, vegetables, and starches! Mixed with other seasonings it can also turn something ho hum into a gourmet meal!

I hope this information has opened your eyes a little and has given you the courage to try some Black Garlic! Make sure you check out our Fire & Water Cooking Seasonings and sauces that all contain top quality Black Garlic!

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