Fermented Black Garlic: The Trend, Uses, and Health Benefits

Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash - MaisonBoutarin

Fermented black garlic is on the come-up. First used in traditional Asian dishes, blackened garlic is the new trend-ingredient in home cooking and high-end cuisine. Plus, it’s pretty healthy, too.

Black garlic is not a separate type of garlic altogether, but rather fermented common white garlic (allium sativum). However, one look at aged blackened garlic may lead you to believe otherwise. Not just its color changes, but texture and taste too.

In this article, we’ll highlight the most important facets of the fermented black garlic trend, its uses, and proven health benefits. We’ll also take a look at exactly how planet-friendly blackened garlic is.

What is Fermented Black Garlic?

What is fermented black garlic?
Blackened garlic differs from common white garlic in a number of ways. (Photo: © Utopia / Pascal Thiele)

Aged under special conditions, common white garlic transforms in texture and color. Fermented black garlic is made by heating garlic at a temperature of 140-175°F for a period of several weeks at high humidity of 80 to 90 percent. This form of fermentation is a process often used in food production and is responsible for the black color of the garlic.

For many generations a staple ingredient in Asian cuisine, blackened garlic has recently grown in popularity throughout the United States and Europe.

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Black Garlic: Flavor and Uses

Fermented black garlic has a unique taste best described as a combination of sweet and sour, hints of liquorice, balsamic vinegar, and plum compote. In other words: Once blackened, fermented garlic no longer has much at all in common with white garlic. The aged garlic becomes sticky and takes on a soft jelly-like texture comparable to that of dates.

Black garlic has a multitude of uses: it goes well with pasta and rice dishes, alongside meat and fish as well as in various salads. It’s also great for use in marinades. Thanks to its unique appearance, you can also use it as a garnish.

Tip: Another notable benefit of black garlic is that it won’t leave you with garlic breath!

Health Benefits

Fermented black garlic cloves health benefits culinary uses kitchen tricks
Garlic’s uses range beyond the kitchen. Here are some health benefits of fermented black garlic you can look forward to. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay - ch1310)

Garlic has been used for its medicinal properties for millennia. Thus, at first glance, the recent black garlic trend may seem like a marketing gag. But in fact, numerous studies have now examined precisely how and why fermented black garlic is so healthy.

A detailed review published in the Journal of Food and Drug Analysis in 2017 has compiled and records existing information and research on black garlic:

  • Fermented black garlic hardly contains the healthy ingredient allicin as these are chemically converted into antioxidant compounds during fermentation. These include bioactive alkaloids and flavonoids.
  • The effect of antioxidants is considerably greater than that of normal garlic.
  • Furthermore, blackened garlic is considered to be anti-inflammatory, anti-cancerous, and anti-allergic. It can also be more effective against type 2 diabetes than in its normal form.

Fermented Garlic: Culinary Delight or Eco-unfriendly Fad?

Compared to white garlic, fermented black garlic has several advantages: It is easier to digest, can be put to use in a variety of ways, does not cause bad breath, and has promising health benefits. With its remarkably unique combination of aroma and taste alone, you should be sure to try it at least once.

Despite the numerous benefits of these blackened, sweet and sour aged cloves, fermented black garlic is not without its disadvantages – particularly for the planet. Many brands source their products from outside the United States. No matter where you live in the United States, products delivered to your doorstep from China or Korea will have a lengthy journey behind them.

If possible, Utopia recommends sticking to regional sources in order to avoid unnecessary carbon emissions. Locally sourced products will make it to your kitchen in half the time twice as fresh.

This article was translated from German to English by Evan Binford. You can view the original here: Schwarzer Knoblauch: Was hinter dem „Black Garlic“-Trend steckt.

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