Black Garlic: Why Chefs and Everyone Else Want to Eat It

I know you are very familiar with fresh garlic; you know its strong smell, taste, and probably its health benefits. Maybe you are inseparable from garlic; you take it raw first thing in the morning or with other meals during the day.

But besides the fresh white garlic you are used to, have you ever heard of black garlic? No, not from the horror stories! 

The black spice is commonly used by most professional chefs and other food enthusiasts due to its superior health benefits and unique taste.

So, hereunder we will begin by seeing the basics of this black herb. Later we shall see some of its recipes and health benefits.

What is Black Garlic?

Black garlic(BG) refers to fermented fresh garlic. 

To ferment the fresh garlic clove, you will need to place it under a specified high temperature for several days(e.g., 3-4 weeks) to promote a Maillard reaction. 

A Maillard reaction is a chemical reaction between sugar and amino acid that produces color and flavor in the fermented garlic or fried onions. 

Also, fermentation takes place under a high level of humidity.

The fermentation process gives the cloves a black color, as seen in the below diagram. In addition, fermentation provides the black garlic clove with a milder flavor and a more sticky and delicate texture.

black garlic

Image Source: Google Scholar

How to Make Black Garlic?

As we have said earlier, garlic fermentation occurs in specific environmental conditions.

Specifically, the fermentation process requires a slow cooker with a temperature between 70°C and 85°C and a humidity of 50% to 95%. 

Also, this process is not a one-day thing; it takes several weeks until you get the desired results, as seen in the diagram below.

Figure 2: Changes in garlic color with the passage of fermentation days

black garlic benefits

Image Source: Google Scholar

One more thing to remember is that garlic fermentation doesn't require additives.

In addition, some studies show that a freezing pretreatment on the fresh garlic before fermentation can speed up the fermentation processes. 

Other researchers recommend a high-pressure pretreatment to improve the nutritional and antioxidant value of the black garlic.

Fresh Garlic Vs. Black

GarlicThe composition of fresh garlic changes during the fermentation or aging process.

Fresh garlic contains such nutrients as water, proteins, polyphenols, dietary fibers, vitamins, lipids, and allicin. 

The table below reveals the nutritional value of fresh garlic changes with aging.

Table 1: Nutrition facts of fresh and black garlic

black garlic benefits and side effect

Source: Google Scholar

Black Garlic Vs. Roasted Garlic

Black garlic cloves and roasted garlic cloves are not the same things.

As we had said earlier, black garlic is a product of fermented fresh garlic bulbs.

On the other hand, roasted garlic refers to browned garlic bulbs that produce a sweet and caramelized flavor. Also, they are mushy, and you can use them in mashed potatoes and salad dressings.

Black Garlic Recipes

Black garlic is very common in Asia, North America, and Europe. This herb is found in most foods and drinks, such as white pan bread, sausages, candies, tofu, ice cream, vinegar, yogurt, jams, and alcohol.

Moreover, there are uncountable recipes you can prepare with this Asian cuisine. Let's see three of these recipes in detail.

Grilled ribeye combined with black garlic aioli

Preparation time: 2 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Serves: 6 people

Steak Ingredients: 

● 6 to 10-ounce ribeye steaks

● Black pepper and kosher salt

Aioli Ingredients:

● 12 to 14 peeled garlic cloves

● Two egg yolks

● ½ cup sliced shallots

● Two tablespoons of lemon juice

● One tablespoon of Dijon mustard

● ½ tablespoon chopped rosemary

● ½ tablespoon chopped thyme

● 1 and 1/2 cups canola oil

● ½ teaspoon sugar


1. Blend all the aioli ingredients (except oil) using a blender until smooth

2. When the blender is still running, stream in the canola oil. 

The resulting sauce should somehow resemble a chocolate cake frosting. 

Put the sauce aside.

1. Preheat your grill to around 400°F

2. Season the ribeye with pepper and salt

3. Grill the steaks until done

4. Drop some dollops of the black garlic aioli on the steak

Black garlic rice recipe


1. Add rice to your rice cooker

2. Scoop some black garlic paste and mix it with water; stir the mixture thoroughly

3. Pour the black garlic solution into the rice cooker and 'smash' the 'cook' button

4. After the rice is done, wait until the rice cooker reads' warm.'

5. Serve your black garlic rice with beef stew, chickpea, stroganoff, or other hot dishes

Why you should prepare rice with black garlic extract;

● Loaded with many health benefits such as preventing oxidative stress

● Aged garlic is odorless and produces a deep umami flavor.

● Unlike white garlic, fermented black garlic doesn't give you bad breath.

● Long shelf-life; a peeled black garlic bulb can last up to one year, while the white or regular garlic starts to sprout after a few days

Black garlic marinade

What you will need:

● Two teaspoons of black garlic powder

● Four tablespoons of light soy sauce

● Four tablespoons of olive oil

● Two tablespoons honey

● One teaspoon Urfa Biber

● One teaspoon of Porcini mushrooms powder

● ½ teaspoon Hungarian paprika

● ½ teaspoon Ground coriander

● 12 chicken drum sticks with their skin on


● Preheat oven or grill to 180°C

● Pick your garlic powder and mix it with the following seven ingredients listed above; you can do this by shaking the ingredients together in a jar or using a food processor.

● Apply the marinade to the drum sticks' skin. Also, you can lift the skin a bit and apply underneath too.

● Place the marinated chicken drum sticks on a baking tray and roast them for thirty minutes or until done.

Other foods where you can include black garlic:

● Cream cheese

● Salad dressing

● Vegetable or fruit molasses

● Toasts

● Meatballs

● Melted chocolate

● Balsamic vinegar

black garlic benefits

Image source: Wikipedia

Benefits of Black Garlic in Your Body

So far, we have seen what black garlic is and some recipes you can prepare with it. Now, let's see the possible impacts of BG on health problems.

Effect of fermented garlic on metabolic diseases

● Black garlic and diabetes mellitus

Black garlic might help with insulin resistance. 

But what is insulin resistance? Well, insulin resistance is the insensitivity of body cells to insulin. 

According to NIDDK, insulin is a hormone that helps regulate and manage blood sugar.

Though some animal studies show that BG can help treat diabetes, you shouldn't trash your prescribed treatment. 

Moreover, most health professionals advise using BG with your prescribed diabetes treatments.

● Black garlic and obesity

Obesity is a substantial global health problem. As if this is not enough, obesity births other health problems such as insulin resistance, high blood pressure, glucose intolerance, and dyslipidemia.

On the same note, no perfect obesity treatment or prevention strategies exist. Additionally, the existing obesity medications have side effects. 

However, there have been numerous efforts to seek better ways to solve obesity problems, and one of the most promising solutions to obesity is black garlic extracts.

Effects of BG on genitourinary tract diseases

Black garlic has demonstrated great abilities in eliminating symptoms associated with genitourinary tract diseases.

The table below shows the effects of aged garlic extracts in treating genitourinary issues.

Table 2: Effect of BG on genitourinary tract disorders

black garlic blood pressure

Source: Google Scholar

Effects of black garlic on digestive diseases

● BG and liver disease

Several substances can lead to acute or chronic liver diseases, including drugs, some foods, alcohol, and pollutants.

That said, several animal studies show that BG can help protect the liver. However, no deeper research has been conducted to verify the protective ability of BG on the human liver.

● BG and inflammatory diseases

Several studies have revealed that black garlic has great potential in treating several inflammatory diseases such as endometriosis, inflammatory bowel diseases, lethal sepsis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Effects of black garlic on cardiovascular diseases

Black garlic helps eliminate cholesterol, thus protecting the arteries from narrowing or blockage.

In addition, BG helps prevent arterial hypertension, which results from the stiffness of the arteries. 

Effects of black garlic on brain disorders

The antioxidants in black garlic can help prevent cognitive conditions, including Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. Moreover, BG can help improve your memory and other brain functions.

Effects of black garlic on cancer

Cancer is among the leading causes of high mortality rates in many nations.

Some treatments used for cancer include chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and surgery. 

However, many studies are going on to see if natural products can be included in cancer treatment. On this note, some studies revealed that black garlic could help suppress cancer cells.

Some cancers by which black garlic has produced great treatment results include lung, breast, gastric, and colon cancers.

Potential Downsides of Black Garlic

Here are two groups of people who should avoid taking a lot of black garlic since it might be risky for their health:

● People taking blood-thinning medications

● Persons allergic to garlic

Bottom Line

Finally, we have come to the end of our discussion today: we have seen what black garlic is, its production process, its recipes, and its health benefits.

In addition, we have said that you shouldn't kick away your prescribed medications in favor of black garlic; use BG to compliment your treatment until your health care provider advises otherwise.


1. Nutritional, therapeutic, and biological properties of black garlic

2. Black Garlic and Human Health Diseases

3. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

4. Insulin Resistance & Prediabetes

5. Thermal processes on garlic varieties

6. Nutritional properties and antioxidant activity of Fresh and fermented garlic

7. Optimization of Aging Time for Improved Antioxidant Activity and Bacteriostatic Capacity of Fresh and Black Garlic

8. Composition of garlic fermentation in a water bath

9. Antibacterial and Antioxidant Analysis of a Single fermented garlic bulb

10. A Review of Component and Pharmacology Activities of Black Garlic

11. Trader Joe Ground fermented black garlic

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