If you haven’t tried it, you’ll want to, and the next thing will be to learn how to make black garlic. You’re probably already know about the amazing health benefits of garlic, right? If you’re interested in more on that plus black garlic health benefits, this should help. We’ll link this at the end of this article as well, so you don’t have to jump over there just yet.https://www.gardensall.com/food-as-medicine-fuel-health-vitality/ https://www.mytrainerfitness.com/black-garlic-health-benefits/
Try it First
For this article we’re focusing on black garlic. But if you haven’t yet tasted it, start there. You’ll want to try it to make sure you love it enough to put in the time and effort to learn how. It’s not hard, but there are a few challenges, which we cover in this article.
To taste it, there are many sellers on Amazon, ranging in price from $1.09/oz to as much as $5.19/oz for organic fermented black garlic. There’s even a black garlic salsa, mayonnaise and seasoning by McCormick, all of which are making me hungry just writing about it!
Each clove of garlic contains over 400 beneficial compounds.
How to Make Black Garlic
First… what appliance do you need? There are actually 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.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maillard_reaction
Black garlic is a chemical reaction between amino acids and sugars, so not true fermentation involving microbial reaction.
Black Garlic Makers
Back garlic fermenters have mixed reviews as a category. So be sure to scan the lowest reviews of the ones you’re considering. Beyond that, consider these other options and choose which sounds best for you to start.
Appliances to Ferment Garlic
- Black garlic fermenters – fastest, more contained, smaller
- Rice Cookers – adequate; cheapest
- Instant Pot – adequate, but ties up your Instant Pot for two or more weeks
Also called black garlic machines, you can buy black garlic fermenters. However, we’re in favor of using whatever you have on hand first and 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.
How to Make Black Garlic:
Ferment garlic bulbs at a steady 140℉ for 2-6 weeks.
Start Simply with What You Have
If you already have a 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 anyway.
If you’ve already tasted black garlic, then you’re probably hooked. This delicious darkened delectable disappears quickly, because you’ll be wanting to put it into everything! That means keeping your garlic fermenter busy making more right away. 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.
As with most appliances, there are mixed reviews on the garlic fermenting 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.
Examples of possible user-error variables include keeping the garlic in a sealed container for optimal moisture, whether the garlic was fermented too long or not long enough, or whether they let it cure for the recommended period afterward.
So just do your research and scan reviews before choosing one.
Troubleshooting Black Garlic Making
- Too dry? Garlic may not have been sealed well. Keep garlic sealed
- Hard with less flavor? Not fermented long enough; “cook” longer.
- Dry and/or rubbery? Fermented too long, less time in future.
- Not very black? Likely didn’t cure long enough.
Black garlic has many of the nutritional benefits of raw garlic, but is higher in some of the most beneficial compounds.
Issues With Black Garlic Making Include
(See solutions in the next section below)
- Tastes burnt
- Takes a long time
- Turned brown, not black
- Overpowering garlic smell
- Too much or too little humidity
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
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
- Place garlic in a sealed container inside the heating unit to retain moisture
- Extend the fermenting time in the machine
- Extend curing time once out of the machine
Here’s the shortest way to make it.
Tips for the Best Black Garlic
- Any garlic is fine; best are those with the red or purple tinged exterior
- Wash garlic if it contains dirt, such as in homegrown
- Dry completely – you can place near a fan or cool dry area to expedite, but the garlic bulbs must be dry
- Place whole dry bulbs in a single layer in the cooker tray
- If you’re using a garlic fermenter, with a second tray, place that in as well.
- 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
- Place a single layer of clean, dry, whole garlic bulbs in rice cooker*
- Place on lid and set to warm
- 17 days for chewy, fig-like texture
- 21 days for spreadable texture
*For best flavor, we prefer the purple or red varieties of garlic
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
- 3 eggs
- 4 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
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.
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.
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.
“That fermented garlic infused raw honey… Dandy on ice cream! Homemade honey crust peach pie.”
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.
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.
Making Black Garlic in an Old Rice Cooker
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
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.
Wishing you great gardens and happy harvests spiced with black garlic!
I’m LeAura Alderson, entrepreneur, ideator, media publisher, writer and editor of GardensAll.com. Pursuits in recent years have been more planting seeds of ideas for business growth more than gardening. However, I’ve always kept plants, been interested in medicinal herbs and nutrition and healing from food over pharmacy. I assist in our family gardening projects primarily (at present) through the sharing of information through our websites and newsletters.
As a family we’re steadily expanding our gardening, experimentation and knowledge around all things gardening, edible landscaping, fresh organic foods and self sustainability and hopefully, farming in our future. We thoroughly enjoy and appreciate the creative ingenuity of the GardensAll community. I also own and manage theiCreateDaily.com.