Don’t feel bad if you haven’t heard of black garlic before. Black garlic is not something that occurs naturally and has increased in popularity only recently. Although it simply looks like burnt garlic, it is actually made by fermenting whole bulbs of garlic. This fermentation process infuses garlic with additional nutrients that offer a variety of health benefits.
Helps Treat Symptoms of Diabetes
Black garlic may be used to treat type-2 diabetes thanks to its potent antioxidants. Although nutritionists aren’t quite sure of its ability to affect blood sugar or glucose levels just yet, black garlic will definitely help reduce oxidative stress in the body. This is especially important for diabetics since diabetes increases oxidative stress in the body and can lead to kidney disease, heart disease, eye issues (including loss of vision) and more.
Recent studies conducted on rats do show that ingesting black garlic may result in lower blood sugar and triglyceride levels, but additional human studies are yet to be completed.
Garlic is well known for having heart-healthy properties, but these properties are multiplied in black garlic. A study performed in South Korea in 2014 black garlic extract, when taken daily for 12 weeks, increased levels of good cholesterol (HDL) and decreased Apolipoprotein B in blood lipids (considered a strong indicator of heart disease). Researchers also believe that black garlic can reduce levels of LDL cholesterol (the bad kind), further promoting cardiovascular health.
Black garlic can relieve irritation for both skin and nasal allergies. It is also rich in antioxidants which help support the immune system, resulting in fewer allergic reactions as your body is better able to handle environmental allergens.
Reverses Liver Damage
When caused by alcohol, fermented garlic can help reverse damage that has been done to the liver. This particular type of damage is a result of oxidative stress on the organ. Similar to the way that black garlic can prevent and reduce diabetic side effects due to oxidative stress, it also works to reverse the damage done by this oxidative stress on the liver. Thanks to its antioxidant properties, black garlic may also be able to remove accumulated fat on the liver, preventing/treating fatty liver disease.
Fights off Disease
Because it is an antioxidant powerhouse, black garlic can help prevent or treat many diseases. The antioxidants found in black garlic can help protect the cells from damage caused by free radicals, meaning that it may help prevent cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, autoimmune diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, and more. These antioxidants also help slow and reverse the signs of aging, providing you with healthier, more youthful skin.
Offers a Variety of Nutrients
Black garlic is rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals. It contains phosphorus, which promotes strong and healthy bones and teeth, improves nervous system activity, and helps the kidneys function optimally. Magnesium, calcium, selenium, and vitamin C are also found in black garlic.
How to Make Black Garlic
Chose whole cloves of fresh garlic. Preferably white or red garlic, but if you prefer other types it is fine too. The important thing is for the head of garlic to be big and round. None of the cloves should be broken up and the entire head should be intact. Making black garlic is easy and does not take a lot of time if you are properly prepared. Start by putting some whole garlic bulbs into a bowl and do not peel any skin off. Ensure your bowl can hold as many bulbs as you wish.
After you have chosen your fresh garlic make sure that none of it is rotting or germinating. If it is, throw it away, or use it for something else, but don’t try to make black garlic with it. It is preferable for the humidity to be 70% if possible.
Wash and clean your garlic. Use fresh (filtered water if possible) to rinse and clean your whole heads of garlic. After washing put them in a cool dry place for a minimum of 6 hours or longer until completely dry. Do not try to start the fermenting process while the garlic is still wet or damp. After confirming they are dry inspect for cleanliness. If the garlic is not clean repeat the cleaning process. Do not use garlic with dirt still on it for making black garlic.
You can also use a slow cooker or a rice cooker to make the black garlic if you prefer. Do not use foil if making black garlic in a fermenting machine, rice cooker, or slow cooker. A fermenting machine is the best way to make black garlic and the safest.
In a fermenting box set the temperature to 122- 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the fresh garlic in. Set the humidity to 60-80% for 10 hours. After the first 10 hours change the settings on the fermenting machine to 160 degrees Fahrenheit and change the humidity to 90% for 30 hours. After those 30 hours are complete change the setting on the fermenting box to 180 Fahrenheit with the humidity to 95% for 200 hours. At the end of 200 hours, the black will be complete.
If you do not choose to use a fermenting machine then try to follow the same temperature settings with your rice cooker or stove. (source)
See rice cooker recipe on Instructables.
Black garlic is safe to consume as you would consume unfermented garlic. It may result in heartburn or nausea for some, and should not be taken in medicinal amounts without the supervision and advice of a trained professional.