Black garlic is a unique and flavorful ingredient that is made by fermenting regular garlic bulbs for several weeks at a high temperature. The fermentation process changes the color, flavor, texture, and nutritional content of the garlic, making it a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes and has numerous health benefits.
The process of creating black garlic starts by heating whole heads of garlic in a controlled environment, usually between 140 to 170°F for about a month. The heat and humidity cause the enzymes in the garlic to break down the complex sugars and amino acids, creating new flavor compounds and changing the texture of the garlic. This process is called the Maillard reaction, which is also responsible for the browning of meat and bread. The Maillard reaction causes the garlic to turn black, and the cloves become very soft and chewy, with a unique, sweet and tangy flavor.
The fermentation process also increases the content of antioxidants, amino acids, and minerals in the garlic. Black garlic is particularly high in a compound called S-allyl-cysteine, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. It also has been shown to have a higher antioxidant activity than raw garlic.
Fermentation also increases the bioavailability of some compounds in the garlic, making them more easily absorbed by the body. Fermentation also changes the composition of the garlic, creating new compounds that can be beneficial for health.
In conclusion, the fermentation process of black garlic is a natural way of transforming the nutritional and organoleptic properties of garlic. The process involves a combination of time, heat, and humidity that modifies the structure of the compounds present in garlic.