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How to Make Black Garlic

Wow! Have you tried black garlic? It has an awesome flavor so we’ve been researching and talking to folks know how to make black garlic and now we’re sharing it here with you too.

Now you probably already know about the amazing health benefits of garlic, right? For more on the health benefits of black garlic, you can scan this article on our fitness site: black garlic benefits.

For this article we’re focusing on how to make it.

How to Make Black Garlic

First… what appliance do you need for making black garlic? There are actual black garlic maker machines on the market now, most often called ‘black garlic fermenter’.

While the process of making black garlic is often called ‘fermenting’, the actual process does not involve fermenting, but rather, a microbial breakdown process call the Maillard Reaction. Garlic turns black due to a chemical reaction between amino acids and sugars that occur at warm temperatures that causes the sugars to cook down and brown, though this stops short of caramelizing.1)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maillard_reaction2)https://nordicfoodlab.org/blog/2013/2/black-garlic#_edn1

Black garlic is a chemical reaction between amino acids and sugars, so not true fermentation involving microbial reaction.

Black Garlic Fermenters

The reviews report mixed results, consider these options and choose which works best for you to start.

Black Garlic Makers

  • Black garlic fermenters – fastest
  • Dehydrators – noisier
  • Rice Cookers – adequate
  • Instant Pot – adequate, but ties up your Instant Pot for two or more weeks

Also called black garlic machines, you can buy black garlic makers, however, we’re in favor of using what’s on hand first if you have it. The only thing you need for the the garlic to “ferment”*, is to keep the garlic at a steady warm temperature of approximately 140℉,(60℃) over a long period of 2-6 weeks.

Keep garlic bulb at a steady 140℉ for 2-6 weeks.

If you already have a dehydrator, rice cooker or Instant Pot, you might want to try those first before investing in another appliance. All tend to work well if you follow the best practices. If you don’t already have any of these appliances on hand, a rice cooker is the most economical solution.

If you like to experiment and compare, you might want to try two different appliances at the same time. As delicious as the black garlic is, you’ll probably want to get another batch going as soon as this one is finished.  Now we know why it can be expensive to buy: it’s time consuming and uses energy to keep it “cooking” for 2-6 weeks!

Rice cookers are the least expensive option for fermenting black garlic.

The biggest advantage of black garlic fermenters is the humidity control.


There are mixed reviews on the black garlic making machines. The majority are favorable, however there are so many variables that it can be hard to laser in on the cause of the negative reviews and whether it’s the machine or the user.

For example, some reviewers complained about the garlic being tough, dry and/or tasteless. However, it’s not known if the people making it took the most optimal approach and followed all instructions, such as keeping the garlic in a sealed container for optimal moisture, or allowed it to ferment long enough, or whether they let it cure for the recommended period afterward.

Issues with Black Garlic Making Include

(See solutions in the next section below)

  • Dry
  • Tasteless
  • Tastes burnt
  • Turned brown, not black
  • Overpowering garlic smell
  • Too much or too little humidity

For details on humidity settings, refer to this article on GarlicShaker.com.

NOTE: The smell can be overpowering, so preferably if you can place in a garage or storage facility away from your house.

“Be sure to mention the smell, we have several reports of renters being removed from one black garlic making foray.”
~Craig Dunek, owner, Black Garlic North America

If you’re interested in garlic nutrition and health benefits, you may enjoy this article.

Solutions to Problems with Black Garlic Making

SOLUTION to ODOR:
Place your garlic fermenter in an isolated place, such as a garage or shed.

Make sure your garlic is healthy, clean, dry, and a full—intact—clove, and if using a garlic fermenter, follow all instructions carefully.

For non Garlic Fermenter Machines

  1. Place garlic in a sealed container inside the heating unit to retain moisture
  2. Extend the fermenting time in the machine
  3. Extend curing time once out of the machine

Here’s the shortest way to make it.

The Fastest Way

  1. Any garlic is fine; best are those with the red or purple tinged exterior
  2. Wash garlic if it contains dirt, such as in homegrown
  3. Dry completely – you can place near a fan or cool dry area to expedite, but the garlic bulbs must be dry
  4. Place whole dry bulbs in a single layer in the cooker tray
  5. If you’re using a garlic fermenter, with a second tray, place that in as well.
  6. Turn on for two weeks. (Shorter for tougher, chewier texture longer for softer, scoop-able texture)

If you’re not sure, take a bulb out after two weeks and test it. When it’s ready, turn the cooker off. If it’s not yet as you want it to be, then let it cook another week and test it again.

We haven’t had a chance to experiment with both approaches yet. If you do (or have) please let us know your results; we’d love to hear and to add them to this article if you like.

Rice Cooker or Instant Pot Method

Process excerpted from Instructables.com3)https://garlicshaker.com/garlic-recipes/how-to-make-black-garlic

  1. Place a single layer of clean, dry, whole garlic bulbs in rice cooker, (for best flavor, use the purple or red variety)
  2.  Place on lid and set to warm
  3. 17 days for chewier, fig-like texture
  4. 21 days for more pâté, paste or jam-like texture

Remember, the garlic odor is likely to permeated everything and everywhere, so you might want to place your cooker in an out of the way place like a basement, garage or shed.

And for some amazing black garlic recipes, we’re loving this one–and so many more—by the experts at Black Garlic of North America.

Cheesy Spinach & Black Garlic Omelet

Recipe and photo by BlackGarlicNA.com

CHEESY SPINACH & BLACK GARLIC OMELET – SHARED BY BGNA KITCHEN
Prep Time:  10 minutes | Cook Time:  10 minutes |  Servings 3

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons of cheddar cheese
  • 3 tablespoon of shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 Black Garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 cup of fresh spinach finely chopped
  • ¼ cup of diced fresh tomatoes
  • ¼ cup of green onion
  • Dash of salt to taste
  • Sprinkle of pepper to taste
  • Olive oil or cooking spray

Directions

Beat egg in bowl and mix parmesan, cheddar, black garlic together. In a skillet heat the olive oil (or spritz cooking spray to cover the skillet) over medium heat. Stir green onion, for about 3 minutes. Place spinach in skillet and cook until just wilted. Stir in diced tomatoes and add salt & pepper. Cook until egg mixture sets, 10 to 15 minutes.

YUMMY!!

NOW… if you can’t wait to try some black garlic, and while you’re waiting on your garlic to cure, you can buy some! For some of the best seasoned black garlic, you can order directly from Black Garlic North America, the source of the LOVELY feature image of the black garlic casserole dish at the top of this article, or via their Amazon store.

SOURCE: Cover image, Black Garlic North America4)https://www.blackgarlicna.com/

From the Community

We’ve disable comments on this website because there are so many spammers cluttering the comments with promotions and links.

BUT… we love to share the wisdom and experience from the GardensAll and Planting for Retirement Facebook communities, so feel free to share yours and we may add it here.

One effort…ugh! Better choice for me. Turned out wonderful, but too tedious. I now buy single clove fermented garlic. I Infuse Raw Orange Blossom Honey for what I call The Black Health Bomb.
~Lance Pratt

Infuse Raw Orange Blossom Honey with Black Garlic – Lance’s Black Health Bomb, image by Lance Pratt

“That fermented garlic infused raw honey… Dandy on ice cream! Homemade honey crust peach pie.”
~Lance Pratt

Black Garlic on ice cream drizzled with raw orange honey – image by Lance Pratt

Now THAT looks yummy!

Jim Cunning placed 6 bulbs in a rice cooker on warm in a corner of his garage for 2 weeks. His cloves are firmer and chewier. For softer cloves, keep them cooking longer.

Black garlic image by Jim Cunning

Denis Storbaken shared his black garlic tips and photo.
“I put the rice cooker in the garage. Checked on it once a week. We put our garlic in foil and then placed in a turkey bag to keep the smell down.. Seems to work well as no one complained.”

So let me tell you about my journey.. I had not heard of black garlic before. My daughter mentioned how great it was.. So, I whipped out the old Google search and did a few YouTube video searches, got the basic idea and started to compile my equipment.

First started with an old rice cooker. Purchased the best looking Garlic I could find – tried to stay away from “Product of China” 12 bulbs. Put the bulbs into foil – 4 to 6 per packet. Put these into an turkey bag (supposed to keep the smell down) and tried placing all into the smallish rice cooker that we have – tight fit. Taped the glass lid into place to conserve the moisture and heat.

In the mean time I started looking for a better rice cooker – one with locking cover. Found an Aroma 6 Qt cooker an a local thrift shop $14.99. Brought it home and placed the foil and cooking bag into it. Selected the “Warm” setting. Put a sticky pad with the date – wk1, wk2, wk3.

So every 7 days I would open the cooker and flip over the Garlic package. At about day 24 or 25 I decided to pull the packet and see what had transpired. At first I did not see any big difference – but once I started to pull the Garlic apart I could see that the color had changed.

The exterior garlic bulbs are a typical garlic color, however, once the outer cover is removed the dark color becomes apparent.
~Denis Storbaken, gardener

TIPS for MAKING BLACK GARLIC in a RICE COOKER:
Place garlic in foil
Then cover with a turkey (or other cloth) bag to minimize odor
Put rice cooker in garage (or away from main areas of the home)
Check on it once a week
Cook for 25 days in rice cooker, (less for more chewy garlic)
~Denis Storbaken, gardener

homemade black garlic, make black garlic in rice cooker

Don’t Fumigate Your Home and Neighbors!

And remember, if you’re going to make your own, please heed the warning from those who know. At Craig Dunek’s black garlic factory, the garlic can be smelled from over 5 miles away on certain mornings. Usually the garlic cloud extends one mile!

So even if you love everything garlic and the fragrance of garlic, even you may not love it if it’s everywhere for weeks! So try Denis Storbaken’s tips and that of others to minimize everything everywhere smelling like garlic.

“Everything you own will smell like garlic when trying to make black garlic at home.”
~Craig Dunek, owner, Black Garlic North America

If you would like us to publish your photos and information, send us a message.

Wow! We've just learned about the awesome flavor and health benefits to black garlic! So we've been researching and talking to folks who know how to make black garlic and now we're sharing it here with you too.

Wishing you great gardens and happy harvests spiced with black garlic!

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