5-Minute Crafts
5-Minute Crafts

What Black Garlic Is, and How to Make It Yourself

Black garlic can often be seen in stores and on menus at restaurants. At first glance, it looks like a new unusual type of vegetable. But, in fact, it’s ordinary white garlic that has been cooked in a special way.

5-Minute Crafts is telling you what black garlic is and how to make it at home.

What black garlic is

Black garlic is aged white garlic. Its color is the result of a chemical reaction called the Maillard reaction, which involves sugars. It is because of it that many foods get a dark golden color during cooking. Let’s recall the way fried onions, steaks, toast, baked goods, and even fried coffee beans look.

The Maillard reaction produces hundreds of aromatic compounds that give black garlic its unique umami-like flavor. Some cooks compare it to tamarind or rich balsamic vinegar. They also outline the taste of dark caramel, chocolate, molasses, and hints of vanilla in its taste.

It’s worth noting that the Maillard reaction is not a process of fermentation but a complex chemical
interaction that occurs between amino acids and reducing sugars during the cooking process. In the case of black garlic, it is effectively an aging process, which leads many to refer to this food as aged black garlic.

How to make black garlic at home

Let’s be honest — it’s easier to buy black garlic in a store than make it yourself. The process of cooking is not that complex, but it takes at least 3 weeks. Also, keep in mind that a strong garlic aroma will stay in the room for the entire period.

You’ll need:

  • 6 to 7 unpeeled bulbs of garlic
  • A slow cooker or rice cooker
  • Aluminum foil

How to cook:

  1. Prepare the garlic bulbs. Remove all the dirt from them and clean them with an abrasive side of a clean, unused sponge. Also, remove all the roots growing from the bottom parts of the bulbs. Don’t wet them and don’t separate the bulbs from each other.
  2. Wrap each bulb into a piece of aluminum foil. In order to start the Maillard reaction, moisture should have no chance to escape. By wrapping each bulb with foil, you’ll preserve the natural moisture in them.
  3. Place garlic bulbs into a slow cooker or rice cooker. Arrange them at enough distance from each other so that the bulbs don’t touch each other. Close with the lid.
  4. Turn on the heat mode at the temperature of 140°F. This mode will provide optimal warmth and moisture for aging the garlic.
  5. Leave the garlic on the “warm” setting until the cloves are soft and black. Normally it takes about 3 weeks. Make sure to check the slow cooker or the rice cooker from time to time. It will help you be sure that it didn’t turn off and is working in the necessary mode at the necessary temperature. To reach better results, leave the garlic in the cooker for a long time, up to 60 days.
  6. Store black garlic whole in an air-tight container for no more than 3 months. Peel the bulbs one by one and squeeze out the cloves when needed.

How to use black garlic in cooking

  • Make salad dressing. Mix a puree made of a peeled clove of black garlic with olive oil, white vinegar, black pepper, lemon juice, and a drop of soy sauce, then season your favorite salad with this mixture.
  • Roast with meat and vegetables. Crispy bulbs of black garlic go especially well with roasted chicken.
  • Add into a stewed dish, casserole, and even risotto to give them a slightly sweet taste.
  • Decorate a ready dish. Sprinkle minced black garlic onto grilled fish or meat for giving them an unusual taste.
  • Add to a sauce or a condiment. Make black garlic the secret ingredient of your homemade mustard or aioli sauce.
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