Black garlic is a sweeter, less pungent garlic that is created using the Maillard reaction. It’s a type of long, slow, cooking or fermenting process. You can create the reaction at home, and enjoy the health benefits of black garlic while having the convenience of making it at home.
Whether you grow your own garlic, or purchase garlic from the store or Farmer’s Market, you can make your own aged black garlic for less than the cost of black garlic supplements. The biggest challenging of homemade black garlic is controlling the temperature for the correct time, and at the correct humidity, for the garlic to transform. Using home-grown garlic may give you bigger cloves to work with, and you can make it out of your favorite garlic varieties.
Garlic is easy to grow, even if you haven’t done much gardening. It’s also a great companion plant for many other plants, including beets, broccoli, and even your roses and apple trees. You can fit garlic into your landscape, protecting vulnerable plants from deer and rabbits, while also being able to enjoy a rich garlic harvest in late July or in August. Garlic is normally planted in the fall, especially in cooler climates, and requires some chill time to form proper cloves.
If you’d like to try a quick win fermented garlic, this honey garlic recipe is a great use of some of your fresh garlic. Both types of garlic are great as ingredients for dishes, like breads, foccacia, pizzas, steak, in sauces, in salads, with chicken, and in other dishes. Especially if you dislike the strong taste of raw garlic. Fermented, and black garlic are also easier on the stomach.
Making Black Garlic:
The easiest way to create black garlic at home is with a dedicated black garlic making tool. This Black garlic fermenting gadget, is just one of the options for making homemade black garlic. This machine is like a slow cooker and also doubles for a few other tasks like being a rice cooker, so it’s not just for the one thing. It is more temperature regulated than a normal slow cooker, or insta-pot. I like multi-purpose machines, it helps save space if the gadgets in the kitchen can be used for more than one purpose.
Black garlic needs to be aged a minimum of twenty one days, and can be aged up to sixty days. The length of aging will impact the flavor, with it getting milder as the process progresses. You can make black garlic with whole heads of garlic, or split it up the heads into the individual clove pieces. Depending on how much you want to make at a time, full heads can be more efficient for getting the process started, while cloves are more efficient use of space.
You will have garlic odor invading the kitchen and surrounding airspace throughout the Maillard reaction process. So, make sure you have sufficient ventilation to keep kids and pets happy. If you don’t like the smell of garlic, I’d recommend positioning your machine in a covered over and safe porch.
When making this recipe, remember that the garlic will start out by hardening and firming up. Then, after about 3 weeks (21 days), it’ll suddenly soften and become chewy and sweet. This is part of the Maillard reaction, and is part of the texture change that the garlic undergoes.
You’ll need six to eight whole heads of regular garlic, plan to fill your chosen cooking pot, insta-pot, or rice cooker. The odor and time is the same for one head as it is for sixteen.
Chose heads of garlic with well defined cloves, and clean, papery skin. Your garlic bulbs should be free of dirt, without hard or rough spots. Avoid garlic heads that have the cloves splitting out of the husk. If using home grown garlic, make sure the root section is trimmed, and the parts of the husk that were in contact with soil are removed.
Use a dry scrubber to do the cleaning of the outside of the garlic head/husk. Avoid wetting the garlic, as this can negatively impact the fermentation/cooking process.
Wrap your garlic heads in tin foil. This helps with holding in moisture, and helps keep the garlic warm. Place foil wrapped bulbs in your special black garlic fermenting pot, or rice cooker, or instant pot.
For one with a genuine black garlic setting, simply follow manufacturers instructions. For all other machines, you want the temperature to stay around 140F / 60C for the 3 weeks + of the fermentation. For an instant pot, you’ll want to set the max allowed time and continue to reset the time to make your easy black garlic recipe. For a slow cooker, you’ll want to check back on a regular basis to make sure the temperature is staying even and consistent.
Keep your cooker in a well ventilated area if you are sensitive to odors. A covered porch, a closed off spare room, or a garage could all work. Just make sure there’s no way for the cooker to get knocked over, or accidentally unplugged.
After the first three weeks, you can check your black garlic. Simply remove a head, open the foil, and check a clove. If it’s dark brown, to black, and soft, then your garlic is ready. If it seems too light, leave it another few days and check back in a week. Same if it’s firm instead of soft.
Once it’s done, simply unwrap the garlic bulbs and store in the freezer. Before freezing you can split off the black garlic cloves, making it easier to access, compared to whole bulbs. Some people will store the black garlic they need for the day on their kitchen counter.
There are many black garlic recipes available, black garlic blends well with butter and olive oil to make spreads and vinaigrette. It pairs nicely, similarly to roasted garlic, with cheese and crackers. Some of the flavor profiles in black garlic have been compared to soy sauce and balsamic vinegar, with a hit of umami flavor and unique sweetness.
You can use black garlic in marinades, for dipping sauces or chip dips, in pasta dishes, on burgers, in soups, on potatoes, or just wherever you’d use regular old garlic, or roasted garlic.
You can consume black garlic directly, without relying on a recipe. Or you can make a black garlic aioli, or use it anywhere you’d use roasted garlic. The milder flavor makes it ideal for garlic bread, or garlic butter, especially for those who are nursing.
Black garlic has higher antioxidants than regular garlic. You can find out more about the health benefits of black garlic here. Due to the sweetness, and reduced allicin, in black garlic, it makes it a lot easier to consume as-is for it’s immune supportive benefits.
Back to You:
I hope you enjoyed this black garlic recipe. How do you plan to use your black garlic? Leave a comment!