Black garlic is common garlic which has been aged in a temperature- and humidity-controlled environment. Black garlic, with its soft texture and sweetly-rich flavor, has been used in Korean and Japanese cooking for hundreds of years. Since 2005, black garlic has become a popular culinary ingredient in the United States.
Black garlic is made from whole heads of fresh garlic which have been cured for four to six weeks at a constant temperature of between 130 and 170 degrees Fahrenheit. The process transforms the sugars and amino acids in the garlic, turning the bulbs black and converting the cloves into a smooth jelly.
The flavor of black garlic is described as sweet and savory, similar to a mixture of molasses, dates and soy sauce. The aging process mellows the garlic's intense pungency and significantly reduces post-meal "garlic breath."
Black garlic may be used in place of common garlic in many recipes requiring subtle garlic flavors. Black garlic is an ideal complement to many foods, including cheese, roasted pork, shellfish, smoked meats, eggplant and chocolate. Herbs such as parsley, basil and cilantro also pair well with black garlic.
Black garlic is a healthy alternative to raw garlic, containing twice the amount of antioxidants and more than six times the amount of protein. Black garlic also contains S-Allycysteine, a compound that may help prevent cancer, lower cholesterol and reduce the size of tumors.