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Black garlic is a type of caramelized garlic (a Maillard reaction, not fermentation) first used as a food ingredient in Asian cuisine. It is made by heating whole bulbs of garlic (Allium sativum) over the course of several weeks, a process that results in black cloves. The taste is sweet and syrupy with hints of balsamic vinegar or tamarind. Black garlic's popularity has spread to the United States as it has become a sought-after ingredient used in high-end cuisine.
The process of producing black garlic is sometimes incorrectly referred to as fermentation, but it does not in fact involve microbial action.
How does garlic become black? They are usually surprised to hear that the unique color, taste, and texture of our product are accomplished without any additives! Black garlic is produced by fermentation, a technique that has been around for many thousands of years.
Garlic contains sugars and amino acids. When garlic undergoes fermentation, these elements produce melanoidin, a dark-colored substance that is responsible for the color of black garlic.
The real magic happens during our carefully controlled process, developed over many years to optimize the flavor and texture of fermented garlic. This process starts with great garlic, and ends with great black garlic.
Though not as well known as its white counterpart, black garlic is enjoying a rise in popularity in gastronomic circles and the alternative medicine field. Introduced to the health and food markets about five years ago by the Koreans, garlic becomes "black garlic" through a monthlong process of fermentation under strictly controlled heat and humidity. The health benefits of black garlic are being touted by natural medicine practitioners and herbalists.
The monthlong fermentation process in creating black garlic contributes to creating a kind of super garlic. The compound S-allylcysteine, a natural component of fresh garlic and a derivative of the amino acid cysteine, was found in much greater concentrations in black garlic and is thought to help lower cholesterol and decrease the risk of cancer, reports HealthMad.com.
White garlic contains antimicrobial, antibiotic and antifungal agents in its active ingredient, allicin. In black garlic, S-allylcysteine assists with the absorption of allicin, helping it metabolize more easily, which could offer boosted protection against infections.