The origins of black garlic can be traced back to Asia. Japan and Korea have a long-established tradition of using it and praise it as having various medicinal properties. Black garlic is used both for culinary and health purposes and has acquired popularity in other parts of the globe as well. Due to its unique taste, black garlic is often used by restaurants in the preparation of exquisite dishes.
Black garlic is produced through the ageing process regular garlic (Allium sativum). It is carried out in a controlled environment of 65–80 degrees Celsius and 70–80% humidity. This process is quite lengthy and, depending on the chosen technology and recipe, it can take up to 3 months. The characteristic colour of black garlic is obtained through the Maillard reaction (a reaction between amino acids and carbohydrates during heating). Black garlic is a 100% natural product, without any additives or dyes.
It has a soft, jelly-like consistency without the typical garlic odour. Its taste contains notes of balsamic vinegar, port wine and a tinge of molasses, tamarind and soy sauce, with a concentrated, sweet aftertaste.
Black garlic is usually added to dishes in order to highlight unique flavours. It pairs well with rice and sauces for chicken, fish or pork. It can be mixed with cream cheese, added to sour cream or potato mash, and used in herb-seasoned butter or baked goods. Black garlic also goes well with sun-dried tomatoes, goat cheese, rosemary, thyme, oregano and olives, and complements chocolate and honey exceptionally. Black garlic is a universal product with a unique taste: it is said to have an umami flavour for good reason.
Black garlic is also a health food, due to its high antioxidant content. It has been proven to contain twice as many antioxidants as regular garlic. Antioxidants protect the body from illnesses and delay ageing processes. Thanks to the efficient qualities and high antioxidant content of black garlic, it fights free radicals and is perfect for preventing chronic diseases. The so-called free radicals contribute to heart disease, Alzheimer's, poor blood circulation, rheumatoid arthritis, and other chronic conditions. One of the compounds present in garlic, S-allyl-L-cysteine, which is derived from amino acids and cysteine, can lower cholesterol levels and strengthen the immune system.