Fermented Black Garlic

Thursday, September 4, 2008

"Wait... what?"

"Fermented black Garlic," replied Judy.

"Oh, I have to try that! It wouldn't be Vanilla Garlic if I didn't!" I sounded back in a coquettish tone.

One of the oddest things that Terra Spice sent to me was this. Fermented garlic is a garlic originally produced in earthen ware pots, but now mass produced in machines specifically designed for producing it.As you can see the cloves have a dark obsidian sheen that persists through its entirety. Each clove delicately wrapped in it's sandalwood colored paper which is crazy difficult to get off as any usual meathods of getting the paper off will smush the soft garlic in this case. The smell is aromatic, musky, and has a definite garlic quality.

As my roommate and I bit in, we expected a harsh garlic taste and perhaps something sort of soy suace-ish as suggested by the color. However we were taken aback by what taste we encountered.

It was sweet. Candy sweet. Muted and calmed garlic tastes, with undertones of malt and molasses, followed by a sort of bitter, hoppy flavor. Honestly, this would accompany a nice dark beer pretty well. After swallowing, a mellow flavor of garlic resided. Still, the rich flavors only permitted us to eat one. Any more and we would be overwhelmed by the cloves' intensity.

How would you cook with it? I have no idea. Honestly, I think it's best as a little treat to serve between meals or on the side to a spicy dish the way a pickle accompanies a sandwich.


  1. So... how do they make these lovely black beauties? Inquiring minds with too much free time on their hands want to know.

  2. Just-Me: A machine... ferments them? I tried to find more info, but all I could find was that for the most part. I would assume the same way they do soybeans... maybe, possibly?

  3. Uhm, so those sound sooooooo tasty! They do not look tasty - but thank goodness we have you to take the dive beforehand, sounds like it was worth the risk! ;)

  4. I'm intrigued. I'll have to find out the old-fashioned method and see if it's feasible.... I'll get back to you on that.

  5. I found something out about Korean black garlic, also referred to as 40 Day Fermented Garlic....

    "Ordinary garlic is placed in earthenware jugs in a cool environment, such as a cave. The garlic is left to age for several months. No bacteria is added. The result is a simple food with a complex flavor."


    (I added a space)

  6. Hi everyone,

    If you have any question regarding black garlic, please feel free to contact us via email anytime. I will be more than happy to answer any black garlic question.


  7. Brian, normally I'm not cool with solicitation, but this is okay this time as it's hard to find the stuff. Do you know how the stuff is produced?

  8. Yes :). To produce black garlic, you only need two things; Garlic and Heat. No additives or chemicals required. Oh and no soy suce either. Because of color, some people think black garlic is produced with soy sauce, it's not. Black Garlic has very SWEET taste. When you put a garlic into a oven in high temperature heat, garlic will most likly caramizlied or burned. However, in right production environment (meaning right temperature and humidity), garlic will not burned or caramelized and turn into black garlic. Of course, it took us while to get the perfect production temperature and we developed a speical machine.

    If I am not wrong, old man in this blog is (http://thecookskitchen.net/2007/04/03/
    korean-aged-black-garlic/) is our original company founder.

  9. My restaurant uses black garlic.. It goes well with mix of vegetables (especially fennel).. The taste also unique in a way. It taste like fennel in some way.

  10. Brian, be so good as to talk about that perfect production temperature and I promise you'll feel the love...

  11. Hi Brian, 'Anonymous' a.k.a me posting you again. Please help as I'm puzzling about 'Just_Me' saying earthenware pots and cool caves ferment garlic while you say heat's needed to age it???. What gives??

  12. I used Black Garlic to make a Garlic and Lentil soup and the flavor was Fantastic

  13. bought the black garlic. Have been experimenting and even though i do like it i dont think its a kitchen essential. I find it tastes like sweet soy sauce. Garlic flavour is lost. And not that impressed. Bloody expensive. a real shame. dont think i will buy it again. Its nice on barbecued meat. gives its a real chargrilled flavour. and thast it folks.

  14. I've read in a Yahoo group that one can take plain, clean, dry garlic, put it in a glass container with a glass lid, and leave it in an oven for 40 days at 140-145 F. temperature, or until the clove is completely black. I want to experiment in a crockpot.

  15. Having looked around at the recipies and the Chinese compnaies selling the stuff, it appears to be much like any other fermentation process.

    It can be done over a wide range of temperatures and time spans--typically, lower temperatures take longer, higher temperatures take less time--but you don't want to go so high that you cook it. It does require high humidity, and several recipes use a covering bath of salt brine.

    Since it is edible all the way through the process, and its flavor changes depending upon the point in the process at which you eat it, it can be made to have a range of flavors.

  16. Hi all! I was just introduced to black garlic myself, I was slightly skeptical as my grandmother in law gave me a whole bag full and my husband serves me a clove a day and it looks strangely like dark chocolate truffles...but tastes NOTHING like it! So finally, after eating them for a few days, I decided to see if anyone else in this world has ever run across them..only to find to my surpise that they are considered the new "it" food! Amazing!! :) Anyway, I'll ask my grandma how she makes them..she's an 82 year old adorable Korean women who makes everything from scratch. She also makes wine out of onions..go figure. It looks like vodka and taste like sake with a hint of onion.I drink an ounce of that every day too! Not by choice of course. I'm served a shot of onion wine followed by black garlic! What more can a girl ask for? :) All kidding aside, my husband and I are trying to have children so we will eat whatever it takes to get me healthy! And apparently onion wine and black garlic are very good for you...how do I know? Grandma said so. :) OX, B


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