7 ways to include black garlic in your recipes

Editor

Summary of key points

One incredible way to enhance the taste of your dishes is the use of black garlic. Once exclusive to Asian grocery stores, this flavorful ingredient is now widely available, from local farmers’ markets to major grocery chains. To start cooking with it today, learn everything you need to know—from what black garlic is and how it’s made to shopping tips, preparation, cooking techniques, and storage advice. Get ready to add a burst of unique and delicious flavor to your meals with the magic of black garlic!

What is Black Garlic

Black garlic is a special type of garlic that undergoes a curing and aging process, resulting in a sweet, tender, chewy, and blackened appearance. Initially developed in Asian countries for its believed medicinal benefits, black garlic has gained widespread popularity globally due to its distinctive flavor. Its taste is often described as resembling aged balsamic vinegar with a touch of roasted garlic, making it a unique and sought-after culinary ingredient.

How Black Garlic is made?

The process of making black garlic involves curing whole garlic cloves in a hot and humid environment for several weeks, typically at temperatures ranging from 155°F to 175°F and humidity levels between 70% and 90%. During this time, enzymatic reactions, including the Maillard reaction, take place. The Maillard reaction is responsible for the browning and flavor changes seen in cooked foods. As the garlic cures, interactions between the amino acids and sugars in garlic modify its flavors, intensify its sugars, and transform the cloves from being juicy, firm, and creamy white to becoming dense, chewy, and dark brown-black.

Despite being called “black fermented garlic,” the cloves don’t undergo fermentation during the curing process. Commercial producers use specialized ovens, curing black garlic for four to six weeks, followed by additional weeks of aging and drying to prevent spoilage. While you can also make black garlic at home using a rice cooker, the process is lengthy (lasting 10 days or more) and produces a strong smell.

How to use Black Garlic?

Using black garlic is easy and can add a unique flavor to your dishes. While you can use black garlic cloves whole, most recipes recommend slicing, dicing, or puréeing them. The cloves have a dense and sticky consistency, similar to dried fruit, so you’ll need a small, sharp knife for slicing or a larger chef’s knife for chopping finely. To make a purée with small amounts (1 to 4 cloves), you can use a mortar and pestle, or simply add the cloves to the other ingredients that are part of the recipe’s purée. Get creative and enjoy the rich and sweet-savory taste of black garlic in your favorite dishes!

Types of Black Garlic and How to Keep Them Fresh

Black garlic comes in different forms: whole heads, peeled cloves, smooth purées, and ground seasonings. Let’s explore how to pick, use, and store each type.

Whole Heads:

A whole head of black garlic has about six to ten cloves. To use them, just peel away the papery skin. You can then slice, dice, or make a purée based on your recipe. Don’t throw away the skins – they can add flavor to broths or make a tasty tea. When buying, look for large heads that feel plump and firm. Store them in a cool, dark place until they expire, or up to six months in the fridge.

Peeled Cloves:

Ready-to-use peeled cloves come in clear jars. Give the jar a shake to ensure the cloves aren’t sticky or damp. Check the expiration date and keep them in the fridge for up to three months after opening.

Purée (Black Garlic Paste):

This convenient condiment can enhance soups, stews, sauces, and dressings. When shopping, ensure the paste is made only from black garlic without additives. Refrigerate after opening and use within three months.

Black Garlic Seasoning:

Made from dried, ground black garlic, these seasonings let you easily add black garlic flavor to your dishes. Check the label for oil, sweeteners, or excessive salt. Keep them in a cool, dark, dry place, and use them within one year for the best flavor.

Advantages of Using Black Garlic:

Consuming black garlic has various health benefits. A few of them are enlisted below:

Might help control blood sugar

Black garlic may have potential benefits for managing blood sugar, particularly in individuals with diabetes. Uncontrolled high blood sugar in diabetes can lead to complications such as kidney damage and heart disease. Studies with rats indicate that black garlic extract could improve metabolic factors, including lowered cholesterol, reduced inflammation, and better appetite regulation in those with a high-fat and sugar diet. Additionally, aged black garlic demonstrated higher antioxidant activity compared to fresh garlic in diabetic rats, suggesting a potential role in preventing diabetes-related complications. Another study in 2019 found that rats consuming black garlic on a high-fat diet showed significantly lower levels of glucose and insulin in their blood. However, it’s crucial to note that these findings are from animal studies, and more research is needed to understand the effects of black garlic on diabetes and blood sugar levels in humans.

Contains more antioxidants

Black garlic has more antioxidants compared to raw garlic due to the aging process. As black garlic ages, allicin, the compound responsible for garlic’s strong smell when crushed, transforms into antioxidants like alkaloids and flavonoids. Antioxidants play a crucial role in shielding cells from oxidative damage that could lead to various diseases. People usually get antioxidants from plant foods, and garlic is a common source. A 2014 study revealed a significant increase in the total antioxidant activity of black garlic during aging, reaching its peak at 21 days. This transformation enhances the health-promoting properties of black garlic.

May reduce the risk of heart disease

Studies in animals suggest that black garlic could potentially lower the risk of heart disease by reducing indicators like total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and triglycerides, while also increasing HDL (good) cholesterol. In one animal study, both raw and black garlic aided in improving blood circulation, protecting the heart from damage caused by lack of blood flow. Another study found that black garlic extract helped lower blood fats and cholesterol in rats on a high-fat diet, reducing the risk of heart disease.

A human study involving 60 participants with elevated cholesterol levels showed that aged black garlic extract increased HDL cholesterol and reduced potential heart disease markers. However, there were no significant differences in triglycerides, LDL, or total cholesterol between the black garlic and placebo groups. Additionally, a study with participants with coronary heart disease found that daily consumption of black garlic extract for six months led to increased antioxidant levels and improved heart health indicators compared to a placebo group. Despite promising animal research, conflicting results in human studies highlight the need for further investigation into the potential cardiovascular benefits of black garlic.

Might have anticancer properties

Research suggests that black garlic may have the potential to fight cancer cells. In a study using blood from 21 volunteers, black garlic extract demonstrated stronger immune-stimulating, antioxidant, and anticancer activities compared to raw garlic extract. The solution was even found to be toxic to lung, breast, stomach, and liver cancer cells within 72 hours. A 2006 human study discovered that aged garlic extract might suppress colorectal cancer cells. However, some older studies didn’t show significant improvements in the quality of life for cancer patients with aged garlic extract, although in some cases, natural killer (NK) cell count and activity improved. It’s important to note that this research is preliminary, and scientists need to conduct more studies to fully understand the potential anticancer properties of black garlic.

Compounds in black garlic may protect brain health

Compounds found in black garlic could be beneficial for brain health by potentially preventing inflammation that may harm memory and worsen overall brain function. Scientists believe that inflammation in the nervous system could contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. In a study with rats, black garlic showed promise in reducing brain inflammation caused by beta-amyloid, and it even had positive effects on short-term memory. Another study induced oxidative stress in rat brains, and when the rats were given black garlic extract, it prevented this stress from causing memory problems. While these findings are promising, further research is needed to fully understand the impact of black garlic on brain health and its potential role in preventing cognitive issues.

Side effects of Black Garlic

Both raw and black garlic seem to be safe with no big issues. But there are a few things to keep in mind about raw garlic that might also apply to black garlic.

  • Eating a lot of raw garlic could make it easier to bleed, so if you’re taking medicines that make your blood thinner, it’s a good idea to not have too much black garlic.
  • A study checked if aged garlic extract affects blood clotting in people taking blood thinning medicine and found no serious problems. Still, it’s smart to talk to a healthcare expert to be sure black garlic is safe for you.
  • If raw garlic makes you have an allergic reaction, it’s best to stay away from black garlic too.

Use of Black Garlic in Different Recipes

Black garlic has a sweet and savory flavor that makes many dishes taste better. Once you try it, you’ll want to use it in everything! Here are 15 ideas to help you get started:

  1. Pasta: Add 1 tablespoon of diced or sliced black garlic to pasta dishes like Pesto Pasta with White Beans.
  2. Whole grains: Give plain whole grains a delicious twist by cooking them with 1 to 2 tablespoons of chopped or puréed black garlic.
  3. Beans and lentils: Make your basic pot of beans or lentils tastier by adding 1 tablespoon of chopped black garlic or garlic purée along with other herbs and spices.
  4. Pizza: Sprinkle chopped black garlic or ground black garlic seasoning on pizza before baking.
  5. Soups: Blend 1 to 2 cloves or 1 to 2 teaspoons of black garlic purée into smooth soups like Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Soup just before serving. You can also sprinkle black garlic seasoning on top as a garnish.
  6. Stews: Enhance the flavors of hearty stews like our Best-Ever Beefless Stew by adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of chopped or sliced black garlic or a tablespoonful of purée when adding vegetables and liquid ingredients.
  7. Hummus: Create black garlic hummus by blending 4 cloves of black garlic into your hummus.

Takeaway

Black garlic is a culinary gem that can transform your dishes with its sweet and savory profile. From its Asian origins to widespread availability, the journey of black garlic unveils a world of culinary possibilities. Now, start your flavorful adventure in your kitchen and explore the versatility of black garlic.

Want to make your meals extra special? Explore delightful recipes and boost your well-being at WholeYum, your ultimate guide to health, wellness, and fitness. Enhance your meals and lifestyle today with the transformative power of black garlic!

Editor
Autumn is an Editor @ WholeYum, passionate about holistic health and nutrition.

Advertisement

Latest Articles

10 Essential Strategies for Navigating Dental Issues

10 Essential Strategies for Navigating Dental Issues

Summary of key points In the charming community of Wake Forest, NC, where the well-being of its residents is a shared priority, maintaining a radiant smile goes hand in hand with a vibrant lifestyle. Dental health, often overlooked in the broader spectrum of wellness,...

What Are the Medical Benefits of Feeding Tubes

What Are the Medical Benefits of Feeding Tubes

Summary of key points Are you recovering from a tough illness or maybe an accident that made it difficult to swallow food? In such scenarios, the thought of eating might seem impossible, but your body still craves the vitamins, energy, and all the things that keep you...

Latest Articles

10 Essential Strategies for Navigating Dental Issues

10 Essential Strategies for Navigating Dental Issues

Summary of key points In the charming community of Wake Forest, NC, where the well-being of its residents is a shared priority, maintaining a radiant smile goes hand in hand with a vibrant lifestyle. Dental health, often overlooked in the broader spectrum of wellness,...

What Are the Medical Benefits of Feeding Tubes

What Are the Medical Benefits of Feeding Tubes

Summary of key points Are you recovering from a tough illness or maybe an accident that made it difficult to swallow food? In such scenarios, the thought of eating might seem impossible, but your body still craves the vitamins, energy, and all the things that keep you...

Tips to Improve Your Sleep Cycle

Tips to Improve Your Sleep Cycle

Summary of key points A good night’s sleep can substantially improve your well-being and performance efficiency in different areas of life. Considering the importance of good quality sleep, it’s important to look for habits and tips that may be adopted for improved...

Home Exterior Remodeling: 10 Tips for First-Time Homeowners

Home Exterior Remodeling: 10 Tips for First-Time Homeowners

Summary of key points Diving into a home exterior remodeling project for the first time is a significant milestone for any homeowner in Omaha. It brings with it both excitement and uncertainty, with the promise of transforming your home's facade into something that...

Latest Recipes

Get a free recipe book created by our nutritionists below!