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Black Garlic - A Fermented Food and its Amazing Health Benefits

Updated on May 3, 2013

Black Garlic


About Black Garlic

Just a little while back I happily purchased a bulb of garlic at a health food store. But once I got it home and peeled off the papery white skin - it felt soft and I saw it was black inside! I thought it was spoiled so I threw it out.

Fortunately, the store was too far away for me to march in and complain about selling me such spoiled garlic because I would have been embarrassed. The garlic was black garlic.

It was in a woman's magazine that I saw an article about black garlic and realized what it was. It is indeed very real. So recently I ordered some.

What is Black Garlic?

Black garlic is a fermented food created by fermenting whole bulbs at high temperatures. Fermentation is an ancient process that has been around for thousands of years. During fermentation the amino acids and sugars in garlic produce melanoidin which creates the black color.

Is Black Garlic Some Kind of New Invention?

It was created in early 2004 by Scott Kim, a Korean Inventor who then created his own company. This company, based in California, is the exclusive US distributor.

In Korea, It was introduced as a health product and is often considered a health supplement.

How is it Used?

Now in the US, it is becoming popular on a variety of chef shows and is used in high-end cuisine. It is also becoming a very popular trend and has been featured in a variety of magazines and newspapers - complete with recipes.

You can peel and heat black garlic and spread it on breads, add to pasta dishes or brush on fish, meat and poultry. Add it to soups and sauces, mix with rice, add to dips, salads, vegetables or spread it over pizza. In fact, wherever you use regular raw garlic you can use black garlic.

Black garlic is not as tangy as raw garlic which is part of its appeal. And because of its soft texture there is no need to crush it.

What Are the Health Benefits?

Black garlic has almost twice the disease-preventing antioxidants as raw garlic. It also contains a natural compound known as S-Allylcysteine - proven to be beneficial in the prevention of cancer. Black garlic is also said to cut cholesterol.

Note: S-Allylcysteine (SAC) is a natural constituent of fresh, raw garlic. The NIH (National Institute of Health) reports that garlic, through its oxidative properties, provides protection against damage to the body caused by free radicals.

What Does it Taste Like?

On the label of the black garlic I purchased it is described as rich, tangy, molasses like, savory and sweet, with tangy garlic undertones and a melt in your mouth texture.

What Do I Think of the Taste?

Would you believe I think it tastes like fig? It is also soft like a fig. I eat it raw because I am sure garlic of any kind is beneficial to my health and I need these benefits.

So I just got up, went to the kitchen, took one clove, peeled it and popped it into my mouth. There seems to be just a hint of tang way back there somewhere. What I do now is use the regular white raw garlic in cooking to reduce some of the bite and the black garlic I will eat raw.

I haven't yet cooked with it so I don't know if the flavor changes.

Why Pick Black Garlic Instead of the Garlic We All Know?

For many people, the pungent smell of garlic is just too much. Black garlic doesn't have this aroma. You can also eat it as is because of its soft texture. By picking black garlic you can still enjoy the many healthy benefits of garlic without the bite.

Looking For Other Fermented Foods?

See link below for Kimchi - a popular Korean fermented food with many healthy benefits, as well as the tea link for Pu-erh - a fermented tea from China.

Ready to Try Black Garlic?

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    • profile image

      Steve 13 months ago

      Yes !

      Thanks very much !

    • DaphneDL profile image

      Daphne D. Lewis 3 years ago from Saint Albans, West Virginia

      Black garlic is new to me, but I will be looking for it on my next trip to Whole Foods. I love garlic in just about any food so I look forward to trying this.

    • jtrader profile image

      jtrader 3 years ago

      I don't think I've tried it yet. I might after what you shared about the health benefits.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Well now black garlic is going on my list of have to have! I knew nothing about it til I saw it here. Thank you so much. ^

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 4 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Sounds fabulous Ramona Morales! I'm on my way to take my daily health-giving clove of black garlic.

    • Ramona Morales profile image

      Ramona Morales 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Thanks to you, I am now obsessed with finding black garlic out here in Nassau and spreading it on Triscuits (YUM!). Maybe with a side of Orange cauliflower.....

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 4 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      jo - I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

    • profile image

      jo 4 years ago

      Not sure if I will try this, I only eat garlic if it is cook in foods, in this case if it taste like figs, I might try it.............

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 4 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      AliciaC - I think you will be pleasantly surprised like me.

      RTalloni - No smell whatsoever. And I like that I can just pop a clove in my mouth - today will be the 4th day and I swear I am feeling better, much less achy.

      Kevin Porter - You're welcome. I am so happy with this product. Hope you find it, try it and like it.

    • Kevin Peter profile image

      Kevin Peter 4 years ago from Global Citizen

      I have never heard of black garlic before. But the interesting facts and health benefits mentioned in the article tends me to use it as early as possible. Thanks for this new knowledge

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

      Tastes like figs, no garlic smell? I'm sold! Thanks much for highlighting this food. I've been wanting to increase garlic intake, now I can!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for sharing this information. I've never heard of black garlic before. After reading your hub I definitely want to try it! It sounds like an interesting food.

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 4 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      You're welcome! I'm so glad you are on top of this crazyhorsehost!

    • crazyhorsesghost profile image

      Thomas Byers 4 years ago from East Coast , United States

      I just started to study the health benefits of black garlic and this gave me some great information on the subject. Thanks very much.

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 4 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      BeBrown - I am certainly likeminded - or I would be a total mess right now. Thanks for the thumbs up!

      drbj - You're welcome. I am so glad I picked up that woman's magazine. This black garlic I can take like a pill each day. The other I had to chop real small and take with water - and often I didn't do it.

      Pooja2100 - I'm glad you find the hub informative!

    • pooja2109 profile image

      Pooja S 4 years ago from Toronto

      Very informative

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 4 years ago from south Florida

      I knew that non-black garlic is good for you and now I know that black garlic is, too. Thanks for the food-flash, BkC.

    • BeBrown profile image

      BeBrown 4 years ago

      Very informative hub, I have also voted it up. I am a big fan of normal garlic and also of onions for their health benefits, so am happy to find likeminded people on here. Thumbs up!

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 4 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Thank you sarifearnhd! I'm glad you enjoyed the hub and thanks for the votes. I'm so impressed with this stuff!