Black garlic is a type of caramelized garlic made by heating whole bulbs of garlic for several weeks. Black garlic is a type of caramelized garlic made by heating whole bulbs of garlic for several weeks. Black garlic is a type of caramelized garlic made by heating whole bulbs of garlic for several weeks. (Photo: mnimage/Shutterstock)

Black garlic: How this unusual variation could be the missing link in your recipes

Try your hand at making black garlic, and learn the recipes that let you experience its benefits.

No, it's not garlic dressed up for Halloween. Black garlic is actually fermented garlic, a variation first used as an ingredient in Asian cuisine. It is made by letting whole bulbs of garlic sit for several weeks over low heat, spurring a chemical reaction that creates those distinctive black cloves.

Taste-wise, you're left with a combination of molasses-like richness and tangy garlic undertones. Texture-wise, it's a soft, melt-in-your-mouth consistency similar to dried fruit.

And then, there are the benefits. In ancient Taoist mythology, black garlic was thought to bring immortality to all who consumed it. But if you're not cool with going back that far, just look at the nutrition content. This stuff's got nearly twice as many antioxidants as raw garlic. It also contains S-Allycysteine, a natural compound that's been linked to cancer prevention.

Got a little time, patience and curiosity? Here's a video on how to make black garlic at home:

Once you've got your finished product, you'll be pleased to know that there's a whole litany of ways to use black garlic in your cooking. From cakes to dips to soups to noodles, here are a few of our favorite examples:

Black garlic chocolate cake

black garlic chocolate cakeFile this one under "surprising ingredients that make cake 100 times better." (Photo: Sarah F. Berkowitz)

Prior to creating this recipe, Israeli Kitchen contributor and recipe author Sarah Berkowitz discovered two things: DAGOBA chocolate and black garlic. With the right proportions, she found that both added a certain depth and earthiness to her cake, along with that hard-to-describe feeling that you've just taken a bite of something incredible.

Get our recipe.


Black garlic tahini

black garlic tahini dipThis dip works great alongside fresh grilled pita. (Photo: Sarah F. Berkowitz)

Garlic is a main ingredient in tahini, so naturally, using black garlic is going to produce something that's approaching the edge of the tahini spectrum. And that's why we love it; the fermentation process takes the kick out of raw garlic and creates a natural sweetness without having to roast it. So that's one bonus of this recipe. The other one is that you can buy black garlic at Trader Joe's if you don't want to make it at home. Jackpot!

Get our recipe.


Black garlic noodles

black garlic noodlesDon't be shy with proportions here. A lot of black garlic goes a long way in these noodles. (Photo: White on Rice Couple)

In Todd Porter and Diane Cu's food-travel-photography blog, White On Rice Couple, umami – a category of taste that can best be described as savory – is a common theme. Their black garlic noodles, for one, are a welcome addition to that theme. By adding a generous helping of the garlic to the noodles, you can actually taste its sweetness in each bite, almost like licorice.

Get their recipe.


Black garlic lentil soup

black garlic lentil soupThis fiery soup contains dried chiles, paprika sausage, hot paprika, and black garlic. (Photo: Eric Wolfinger)

It's almost silly to call this lentil soup, really. Because when we think of lentil soup, we think lentils and soup. This soup is so much more. Dried chiles, paprika sausage, hot paprika and black garlic are just a few of the ingredients that elevate this soup, created by Nick Balla for his Bar Tartine restaurant in San Francisco, to sizzling-superfood proportions.

Get his recipe.

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