What is Black Garlic?
Are you looking to take your garlic to the next level, try aging your garlic. You may have seen images or even been served black garlic at a restaurant and wondered how to make it. Black garlic is a type of aged garlic whose browning is attributable to the Maillard reaction. It is made by heating whole bulbs of garlic (Allium sativum) over the course of several weeks, a process that results in black cloves. Black garlic is softer with a molasses-like flavor. Aged garlic has a long history and is a popular health product in Asian diets. It is purported to have significantly more antioxidants than in its regular form.
Making Black Garlic | Aging Garlic
The process of making black garlic is quite easy but takes some time. Garlic can be aged for up to 60 days but will be ready to use anywhere from 3 to 6 weeks.
There are quite a few DIY methods when aging garlic. If you plan on making black garlic frequently a fermenting box might be the option for you. However, though using a fermenting box will give you the best results it is a detailed process, the best approach without a lot of extra knowledge and expense is to age your bulbs in a slow cooker or rice cooker.
How to Age Garlic with a Slow Cooker
1. Choosing garlic for aging. You can age any garlic variety though some say purple garlic has a richer flavor when aged.
2. Remove dirt from the garlic bulbs. Do not remove the cloves from the bulb or the paper and do not use wet bulbs as this will disrupt the aging process. If you have to wash the garlic to remove the dirt let the garlic dry out completely before starting the process.
Note: There will be a strong garlic odor throughout the process you may want to put the cooker in a well ventilated area or outside the house.
3. Set your slow cooker or rice cooker to warm (not low). The warm setting provides just the right temperature and humidity for aging without cooking.
4. Place whole unpeeled scrubbed garlic bulbs into the cooker. Leave enough space between the bulbs so they that do not touch, 5 to 6 bulbs should fit nicely.
See Also: HOW TO GROW AND PRESERVE GARLIC
5. Allow the bulbs to age for 3 weeks on the “warm”setting until the cloves are soft and black. Do not open the cooker for this initial aging period but you should check the slow cooker occasionally to make sure the setting is still on “warm” and that it has not switched off.
6. Garlic is done when the cloves are black. The paper will peel back a bit so you can see inside, the cloves should be black, having pulled in from the sides a bit and soft. The longer you age your garlic the softer and even jelly-like it will get.
7. When ready, store the bulbs whole in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Squeeze out cloves, as needed.
Black Garlic Recipes
- Black Garlic in Place of Garlic. Black garlic can be used in any dish you like fresh garlic in, the only thing to remember is that black garlic has a molasses-like flavor. Use black garlic in sauces, to season sauteed vegetables, to spread on toasted bread or crustinis.
- Black Garlic Herb Butter. Do you like herb butter? Try adding black garlic and fresh herbs to your butter. You can use your black garlic herb butter as a spread on bread, or incorporate in your cooking. Here’s a quick recipe:
- 1 stick unsalted grass-fed butter, room temperature
- 1 – 2 black cloves garlic (start with one, you can add more)
- 1 – 3 teaspoons finely chopped fresh herbs
- Optional: chopped chives to taste
- Optional: salt or fresh ground peper to taste
- Using a fork or hand mixer mash or mix the butter, garlic and fresh herbs, combine well.
- Add salt and/or pepper to taste.
- Transfer the the black garlic herb butter onto plastic wrap, parchment, or wax paper, roll up to form a cylinder shape. If using plastic wrap twist ends.
- Place in the refrigerator or freezer. The butter will last up to 2 months in the refrigerator, longer in the freezer
- Your butter is ready to use when it is cold and solid, slice to add to your recipes
- Black Garlic in Salad Dressing. Purée your black garlic with olive oil to corporate it into dressings.
- Black Garlic Rub. Use black garlic cloves along with other herbs to rub onto chicken, steak, pork, or fish before roasting.