Adding black garlic to certain dishes gives it a unique profile, but there are also some impressive health benefits to this special culinary ingredient.
What is Black Garlic?
Black garlic is a caramelized form of garlic, but it isn’t easy to produce. Recently growing in popularity in the west, this means of preparing garlic has been present in other countries for centuries. Black garlic is primarily made by exposing unpeeled garlic to extended periods of heat and humidity – sometimes up to 40 days! This causes some of the compounds in regular garlic to break down, particularly those that give garlic such a spicy taste. When these compounds break down over time, they provide the garlic with a more savory flavor, reminiscent of cooked meat or onions, but there is also a sweet element that appears when prepared properly.
This form of garlic has some nutritional differences from traditional garlic and is widely used in high-end cooking applications. Due to the difficulty in producing it and the subsequent cost, it isn’t the most common ingredient to find on a spice shelf, but it does provide a number of unique health benefits. People consume black garlic by itself, ground into a powder, infused in oil, added to vegetable dishes and when minced into sauces or glazes. The flavor of black garlic is highly muted, in comparison to white garlic, so a rather large amount is needed to make an impact in most dishes. The heating process also increases the concentration of allicin and also boosts S-allycysteine levels, which improves the bioavailability of allicin, the active ingredient in garlic.
Health Benefits of Black Garlic
The compound S-allycysteine that forms when you blacken garlic has been shown to directly impact the formation of cancerous cells in your body, even more effectively than white garlic. This makes this specialty item even more important for people trying to boost their health through an exotic diet.
With higher concentrations of allicin than regular garlic, black garlic is even more effective at regulating blood sugar levels. The active ingredients in this herb can help to slow the release of insulin into the body, which is important for diabetic patients and those who are at high risk of developing this condition.
Improves Cardiovascular Health
One of the amino acids found in our body, homocysteine, can actually damage blood vessels walls and compromise out cardiovascular health. Studies have found that black garlic is very good at reducing the levels of homocysteine in the blood, subsequently helping to protect our heart health.
Garlic is famous for its impact on the immune system, and the same thing is true of black garlic. It is known to boost the immune system’s strength and prevent a number of common bacterial and viral infections. It is particularly good for cleaning out the digestive tract and respiratory systems.
Treats Chronic Disease
Allicin is one of the most powerful antioxidants you can add to your diet, and black garlic has even higher concentrations than its uncooked cousin. If you want to boost your defenses against chronic disease and oxidative stress, you should add this toasted spice to your weekly diet.
Garlic has been linked to increased circulation by producing hydrogen sulfide, but its sulfuric compounds are also known to help regulate blood pressure and ensure resource and oxygen delivery to the body’s extremities.
Some cultures have traditionally used both white garlic and black garlic to stimulate sex drive in men, in particular, and the metabolism-boosting properties of this herb’s antioxidants could have an impact on blood flow, energy levels and other factors critical to sexual activity.
How to Make Black Garlic?
You can make black garlic at home, but you will need some specialized equipment, which is why most people simply buy black garlic from specialty stores. A rice cooker, on which you can adjust the temperature and humidity conditions, can be used for this purpose. A fermenting box is even better, although this is less commonly found in your kitchen.
Step 1 – Gather 6-8 bulbs of garlic and wash them thoroughly. Do not remove any of the skin.
Step 2 – Once dry, place them in a fermenting box for 10 hours at 140 degrees Fahrenheit and 70% humidity.
Step 3 – After the first round, increase the temperature to 160 degrees Fahrenheit and 90% humidity.
Step 4 – Finally, change the setting to 180 degrees Fahrenheit at 95% humidity for 200 hours.
Step 5 – Remove the bulbs of garlic, which should be blackened inside.
Step 6 – Prepare the black garlic for use in your cooking or medicinal applications.