At first glimpse, you might not be so enthralled to put black garlic on your dinner plate. But looks can be deceiving. Does it resemble little jelly-like pebbles of coal? Sure. But its sweet, non-acrid taste and nutritional benefits might make you a believer (and the fact that you’ll avoid garlic breath after eating it doesn’t hurt either).
HOW IT’S MADE Black garlic, which was created in Korea, is slowly treated with heat and high humidity over about a month’s time, which allows for a Maillard reaction—the same chemical reaction that browns bread and toasts marshmallows. The result is a head of caramelized, syrupy, balsamic-like cloves with a similar consistency to roasted garlic.
THE BENEFITS Black garlic is shown to have higher levels of antioxidants than raw garlic as well as 18 times as much S-allyl-cysteine (SAC), a compound that may lower cholesterol and protect the heart. Black garlic may also work to prevent cancer and diabetes, and a study has found it to have positive effects on hepatic function, making it beneficial for those with liver problems.
HOW TO SERVE IT Black garlic, which you can find in most specialty markets, can be prepared similarly to roasted garlic—used in spreads and pureed with olive oil for sauces or dressings. Its flavor is especially complementary to roast chicken and steaks, but veg-heads, don’t be disappointed—it goes equally well in stir-fries and as a glaze on kale and other vegetables. Find recipes here.
Have you cooked with black garlic? What did you think? How did you prepare it? Share in the comments below.