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Black garlic facts for kids

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Black garlic
Black garlic

Black garlic is a type of food which is made by heating whole bulbs of garlic over the course of several weeks. It was first used as a food ingredient in Asian cuisine. The taste is sweet and syrupy with hints of balsamic vinegar or tamarind. Black garlic's popularity has spread to the United States because it has become a sought-after ingredient used in high-end cuisine. The ornamental plant Allium nigrum is commonly called black garlic.


Black garlic is made when heads of garlic, or separated cloves, are aged in an environment of controlled humidity (80 to 90%) at temperatures ranging from 60 to 90 °C (140 to 190 °F) for 15 to 90 days (typically 85% humidity at 70 °C for 40 days). No additives or preservatives are used and there is no burning of any kind. The enzymes that give fresh garlic its sharpness break down. The cloves turn black and develop a sticky date-like texture.

Bacterial endophytes capable of fermentation and with strong heat resistance have been identified in common garlic and black garlic. These may have relevance in black garlic production.

Flavor profile

In black garlic, the distinct pungency of fresh garlic is softened such that it almost or entirely disappears, and the garlic develops notes of licorice, tamarind and caramel. Its flavor is dependent on that of the fresh garlic that was used to make it. Garlic with a higher sugar content produces a milder, more caramel-like flavor, whereas garlic with a low sugar content produces a sharper, somewhat more acidic flavor. Burnt flavors may also be present if the garlic was heated for too long at too high a temperature or not long enough: during heating, the garlic turns black in color well before the full extent of its sweetness is able to develop. Black garlic's softness increases with water content.

Culinary uses

Black garlic can be used alone, on bread, with cheese, red wine or dark chocolate, in soups or sauces, with meat or fish, crushed into mayonnaise, added to a vinaigrette, or with a vegetable dish. The cloves may also be crushed and then water added to create a paste or liquid.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Ajo negro (alimento) para niños

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