It Doesn’t Smell Like Garlic and It’s Black?!!

It doesn’t smell like garlic. It doesn’t taste much like garlic. It looks like garlic but it’s black?!  Black Garlic? Hmmmmm….

black garlic

Black Garlic

I must admit I was rather dubious like most people who probably walk past it in the many places this is now available.  But I was also fascinated at the same time.

It is basically garlic which has undergone a three week, very secretive, fermentation process and then dried out before being used.  It was first used and produced in South Korea as a health food – Taoism professes it to be a food of immortality!

It tastes like molasses but garlicky at the same time.  The texture is tougher and thicker than garlic cloves.  There’s no oil oozing out when you try to crush this, it squishes just like liquorice.

It comes in bulb form as pictured above but also ready peeled in a little tub which seems to keep forever in the fridge.

There are some lovely recipes on the Black Garlic UK website for inspiration.  I did try it in risotto with thyme but needed to use 6 cloves to get any flavour rather than the 4 suggested.  I was going through a bit of a savoury biscuit phase when this arrived so I made these Black Garlic, Carrot and Thyme Oat Cookies which were surprisingly amaaaazing with a slice of cheddar cheese and a strong cup of Darjeeling.

black garlic

Black Garlic, Carrot, Thyme and Oat Cookies

I also used them in a simple Goat’s Cheese Dip which was fabulous with the Panisses from Alain Ducasse’s book.

black garlic and goat's cheese

Black Garlic and Goat's Cheese Dip

Black Garlic is super healthy too – full of antioxidants.  The manufacturers claim that these little black jewels are easier to digest compared with white garlic because they contains compounds soluble in water rather than in fat.  This means your body will absorb all the natural occurring benefits quicker and more easily.

Personally the health benefits are an added bonus. This tastes really, really lovely and is a brilliant snack for commuting. Take the pot out and you get a nice clear space around you :-) Brilliant!

What do you think? Tempted to have a go? 

25 responses to “It Doesn’t Smell Like Garlic and It’s Black?!!

  1. the combination of garlic, carrot, and thyme all coming together in a cookie sounds intriguing and delicious – i’ve seen black garlic in my local supermarket, but have never tried it. after seeing how you’ve incorporated it into something so interesting, i may just run an experiment or two!

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  2. I’ve never seen these before! I’ll have to keep an eye out and try them if I ever find them. Can you pretty much substitute them for regular garlic in anything? Just add a bit more?

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    • I think substituting for regular garlic is a good place to start to see how you like the taste. So I added a little to my Rhubarb and Feta salad and that was good. It was also nice in a vinaigrette making it slightly sweeter so I used a white wine vinegar to balance out. If you’re UK based, it’s usually in the fruit and veg section near the herbs and garlic bulbs. If you’re US based, I’m not sure but would assume the same xx

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  3. Great post Urvashi! That cookie looks yummy. I just realised I’ve never attempted baking a savoury cookie so may just try it. So glad to learn about a new ingredient. It looks so curious but I’d definitely buy and try it if I come across it in the supermarket next time. Cheers x

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  4. gooseberryjam

    Love the look of those biscuits and will be making some myself. I managed to ferment my own black garlic and wrote about it here http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/allotment/2011/nov/09/allotments-gardens
    My first attempt wasn’t successful, well that’s what I thought at the time. First try I didn’t ferment the garlic in a completely sealed jar and I ended up with fermented but dried cloves that were like boiled sweets. However, I ground them in a pestle and mortar and ended up with a powder that has been even more useful and wonderful. I use it as a seasoning and it is spectacularly good … yes that good! The wetter fermented stuff didn’t keep indefinitely but the dry powder keeps much longer. As far as I know, you can’t buy this magic ingredient.

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  5. Interesting! I’d like to try it. You’ve offered some great recipe suggestions. Is it expensive?

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  6. I really want to taste that garlic!!! Now I only need to find it in Belgium :)

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  7. I’ve seen this mentioned often, but never seen it available to buy – I think I might try making my own. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  8. I’ve heard of black garlic before but never actually handled or seen one. Very intrigued by the idea of it tasting like molasses! And nice take on savoury cookies! Love the flavour combination.

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  9. Great post Urvashi. I’ve been seeing the hype about black garlic from afar (can’t get it here in Dubai) and was dubious. ‘Superfoods’ and similar health claims tend to be made by marketeers rather than cooks (exactly why is one type of fruit or veg healthier than another anyway?!). Your recipes sound lovely and I will certainly give it a try when in the UK. Really interesting article.

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    • Thanks Sally. I’m fascinated with nutrients in fruit and veg but would love to know about how they test what has what too and what the regulations are on what should be disclosed because we do have these scares once in a while. I remember the whole tuna and mercury debate a decade ago now as I was pregnant with my daughter. I think this is why I’m drawn to trying to grow things myself. Will have to make do with my windows ills and small garden as we just got turned down for an allotment again! Still on waiting list.

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      • …yes, I limit my salmon intake due to chemicals. It’s the labelling of one food as superior over another though. Take blueberries – a ‘super-food’. They also happen to have thick skins, last a long time and are easy to ship from the US. The unfashionable blackcurrant (much tastier) is not given the same hype!

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  10. Black garlic sounds so intriguing, I love the uses you came up with for it especially that cookie! Gorgeous photography as well.

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  11. Great looking savoury biscuit! I also saw your panisse and black garlic goats’ cheese dip recipe which, again, has caught my eye. I will look out for black garlic, but like Sally I am somewhat dubious about over-and-above health claims. As a cancer health educator and epidemiologist I am sceptical about most such things. In my opinion no food is super unless it is in the context of a wide-ranging colourful, plant-centred diet; it seems that the synergy of plant compounds is what makes them health giving. Also, re the salmon issue, try and get Pacific salmon as there is much less PCBs and other nasties from these waters compared to the Atlantic. TInned/pouched Alaskan red or pink salmon is super-useful, safe and wallet-friendly. Great set of posts on this intriguing ingredient.

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  12. I completely agree with you, Urvashi – black garlic tastes delicious. I like it on bruschetta with creamy goats cheese, sliced beetroot, a few walnuts and a little balsamic. I wasn’t aware of the health claims – all I know is that it tastes good. Great post.

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