Black Garlic, making your own is no mystery
Black garlic is both delicious and beneficial to health. Black garlic is also totally vegan and natural. something that can not be claimed by many foods.Click here for a complete review of black garlicThere is much mystery surrounding the origins of and methods by which to make black garlic. This, of course, plays into the hands of those that sell black garlic, the price of which can reach astronomical amounts. 150 US$ per Kg of black garlic is not unheard of and there are those among us that happily fork out that kind of money on a regular basis.Well, no need to worry. Today I will show you how I make black garlic at home, using just a rice cooker, some towels, aluminum foil and a temperature gauge.
Cost: 4-5 Euro/US$ per Kg
- rice cooker with 'warm' setting
- Aluminum Foil
- beach towels
- temperature gauge
- 1 kg fresh garlic. whole bulbs Garlic should be fresh with no signs of rot, mold or germination. The skin can be dry, that doesn't matter
- Your garlic bulbs should be clean and free from any soil
- leave the skin on. Do NOT peel
- In case you had to wash your garlic, make sure to air dry first before placing in the rice cooker
- Place garlic bulbs in the rice cooker and switch the 'keep warm' function on. This function is designed to hold cooked rice at about 55-60°C (130-140°F) and can not be changed because it is set at the factory. Close the lid and cover lid with aluminum foil, making sure to tuck the foil under the edges of the lid so that you have an airtight seal.
- The core temperature, and this is important, should be anything between 68°C-72°C (154-162°F). For me the ideal temperature is 69-70°C (156.2-158°F ).This is where the towels come in handy. If the temperature of your rice cooker is too low then cover the lid with extra aluminum foil and one or two towels. If this still doesn't work then try putting the rice cooker in warmer place. Alternatively if the temperature is too high (anything over 75°C (167°F) is too high) then try and put the cooker in a cooler place and do not cover with towels. Reduce the aluminum foil to just one thin sheet.
- The point is to heat the garlic and to do so in a humid environment. The aluminum foil helps to prevent evaporation.
- The garlic should be heated for about two weeks, sometimes as long as three weeks. The colour of the bulbs will change slowly over time from white, to brown, to black. even when your bulbs have turned black your individual garlic cloves may not yet be ready (see picture).
- After the heating period your garlic needs to dry for a while. Placing the garlic on a rack is the perfect way for the air to be able to circulate evenly around each bulb. The picture below shows garlic which has turned black, is soft and chewy and is ready to eat. You will know once your garlic is ready because it will have reached a consistency as shown in the video below.Some bulbs and/or cloves may need more time to 'mature'. You'll find additional instructions in the 'notes' below.
- During the two-three week period make sure to open the lid every 2-3 days and turn the garlic by placing the top ones down and the bottom ones up. This is because the heat, generated by the rice cookers, is not evenly distributed.
- Remember, after opening, to again cover the lid with foil and, if needed, towels also.
- After the initial two to three week heating period you should carefully peel a bulb and take out a clove. Look at the colour and feel the texture. The colour should be jet black. If you were to hold one between your fingers and squeeze a little the black garlic should feel bouncy, yet firm and the texture should be soft as well as sticky, just like a dried plum. In any case the clove should not feel mushy. See short video below
- An other way to check if it is ready is to taste. In my experience black garlic should have a taste reminiscent of dates, plums and/or balsamic vinegar. Black garlic should be both sweet and slightly sour with earthy notes. There should be non of the characteristic spiciness nor smell associated with fresh garlic. What I very much like is that the taste lingers, long after having eaten one and usually no two cloves taste exactly the same.
- When checking your first batch and following the criteria above it could be that some bulbs are ready for drying and some need a little more time in the rice cooker. Sometimes I replace whole bulbs in the rice cooker and other times I place individual cloves (removed from the bulbs) and place them in a bowl which I then cover with cling film (plastic wrap). The bowl, with cloves, goes into the rice cooker (so make sure to use one that fits). This method helps to further transform the cloves to the right consistency.
- Store your black garlic in an air-tight container and in the fridge. You can keep black garlic like this for well over a year, if not longer. I actually believe that garlic stored this way gets better with time, not worse. I even believe that the flavours, over time, become deeper, sweeter and more complex.