Last updated: August 10, 2021

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In the western world, black garlic is still relatively unknown. In Asian cuisine, on the other hand, it has had a firm place for a long time. No wonder, because black garlic convinces with its taste and its healthy ingredients. Black garlic is not another type of garlic, it is classic white garlic that is fermented.

During this fermentation (ripening at high temperature and humidity for several weeks) the garlic cloves get their black colouring. In this article you will learn why this has many advantages over normal garlic.




Summary

  • Black garlic is not a separate type of garlic. The name refers to the black colouring of the garlic cloves. This is caused by a fermentation of the bulbs under high temperature and humidity that lasts several weeks.
  • Black garlic is also a common name in Asia. This special form of garlic originated here, more precisely in Korea. There is a long tradition of preserving food by fermentation.
  • Today, black garlic is available as whole bulbs or already peeled garlic cloves. In addition, capsules containing an extract of black garlic are also becoming increasingly popular.

The best black garlic: Our Picks

In the following, we have compiled our favourite black garlic products for you. We want to help you make the right purchase decision.

Buying and evaluation criteria for black garlic

In order to find the black garlic product that is right for you, we have determined four buying criteria that can help you make the right purchase decision. We have chosen the following criteria:

We will go into these buying criteria below.

Quality

The quality of black garlic is made up of several factors. In addition to a cultivation area that is particularly suitable for growing garlic, the processing is also decisive. Both are best provided by a single source.

Good black garlic is fermented at temperatures of 60 to 80 degrees and a humidity of 80 to 90 percent. An established duration for the process is 90 days, which ensures consistently high quality.

Origin

The main cultivation areas for garlic are in Asia, which has a long tradition with the fermentation of garlic. Meanwhile, there are also good cultivation areas in Spain, Italy and southern France. Especially in Spain, garlic is also fermented on the spot.

So there is no need to buy black garlic from South Korea, Japan or China. This also reduces the environmental footprint and the criteria for organic cultivation and working conditions are often better in Europe.

Organic seal

With an organic seal you can be sure that the black garlic comes from controlled organic cultivation. Unfortunately, a lot of garlic is still grown conventionally these days. This is often not only bad for the environment, but the quality of the garlic can also suffer.

Residues of chemical pesticides and insecticides can remain on and in the garlic.

There are very many different organic labels, with European certificates often being stricter than non-European ones. Garlic does not have to be shipped halfway around the world to be sold here.

Many cultivation areas are in Europe, especially in Spain. This also reduces the environmental impact of emissions during transport. So make sure that not only the fermentation but also the cultivation takes place in Europe.

Type

Depending on the intended use, there are different types of black garlic. If you want to use black garlic as an ingredient in cooking, the classic whole bulb is the right choice.

If you want to avoid peeling the cloves out of the bulb, which is often a bit awkward, we recommend already peeled black garlic cloves. The disadvantage here is the shorter shelf life.

If you don't like the taste of black garlic, you can use capsules with black garlic extract.

Many manufacturers offer capsules with a high concentration of black garlic extract. The advantage is that you can enjoy the healthy properties of black garlic without much effort.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about black garlic answered in detail

In the following we have answered the most frequently asked questions about black garlic for you.

What is black garlic?

Black garlic is not another type of the typical "white" garlic. The name comes from the black colouring of the garlic cloves that occurs during fermentation.

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The well-known white garlic is the starting point for black garlic. (Image source: Team Voyas/ Unsplash)

The garlic is stored in whole bulbs at high humidity (about 80 - 90 percent) and temperature (60 - 80 degrees). The black colouring comes from melanoids produced by amino acids and sugars inside the bulb.

What types of black garlic are there?

The most common types of black garlic are as follows:

  • Whole tubers: The most common form of black garlic. The individual garlic cloves still need to be separated out for consumption.
  • Peeled garlic cloves: Ready-to-eat peeled garlic cloves offer the advantage that the somewhat cumbersome process of separating out the garlic cloves is not necessary. Slightly shorter shelf life and more expensive.
  • Black garlic capsules: Useful variant for those who do not like the taste of black garlic. Often one capsule per day is enough, as the black garlic extract contained is highly concentrated.

So black garlic shows up in different forms. Depending on the intended use, there is a suitable variety for everyone.

Why is black garlic healthy?

The fermentation process turns garlic into black garlic and enhances its healthy ingredients even more. This is because the allicin present in fresh garlic is converted into antioxidant compounds during this process. These are effective against free radicals, which are responsible for many diseases.

In black garlic, the concentration of antioxidant compounds is much higher than in fresh garlic.

In addition, black garlic is said to have anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory effects. Cardiovascular diseases are also reduced by black garlic.

In addition, black garlic is easier to digest and its ingredients are more available to the body than in fresh garlic. This is due to the reduced proportion of fructans through the fermentation process.

Conclusion

It has long been known that garlic is healthy. However, one of the biggest disadvantages is the pungent taste of fresh garlic. In addition, there is the bad breath that comes from eating garlic.

These two disadvantages are dissolved by black garlic. Its taste is reminiscent of plums, balsamic vinegar and is sweet and mild. In addition, there is no bad breath after eating black garlic.

Black garlic offers all the health benefits of fresh garlic without its disadvantages. Unfortunately, the price is higher than fresh garlic due to the lengthy fermentation process.

It should also be taken into account that the environmental balance is significantly worse than that of untreated garlic due to the high energy input during fermentation.

(Cover photo: Akinori Uemura/ Unsplash)

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