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  • Writer's pictureJere Folgert

What is Black Garlic? (The Dark Art)

Updated: Jan 7, 2022

Garlic has a beautiful face, but a blackened heart.

Black garlic can be found on menus everywhere, but this unique ingredient isn’t anything new. It has been used for flavor and medicinal purposes and in a variety of Asian cuisines for centuries. Black garlic is, simply put, the product of aging regular garlic bulbs over the course of weeks or months. It requires strictly regulated temperature and humidity to achieve its sticky consistency.   With a softer, molasses-like flavor, it is a more delicate option than the raw bulb. It also has added health benefits, including twice the amount of antioxidants than in its regular form. What’s the best part? It’s versatile and can be swapped out for regular garlic in most recipes. It is a beautiful addition to any cheese plate, bruschetta, chicken dishes, or even as a pizza topper. It also gives that extra something to a homemade vinaigrette. Keep in mind it is milder in flavor so we recommend, as always, to taste as you add.
Aged, Black Garlic

Black Garlic is an extraordinary substance. Black Garlic isn't grown "black", instead Black Garlic is made from fresh garlic (Allium sativum L.) that is kept at moderate temperatures for a period of time at a controlled high temperature (60–90°C) under controlled high humidity (80–90%). It is not fermented. Instead, it goes through the Maillard Reaction: A chemical reaction of amino acids and sugar reduction. The Maillard Reaction:

With a soft, molasses-like flavor, black garlic is a more delicate option than the raw bulb. It also has added health benefits, including twice the amount of antioxidants than in its regular form. Black Garlic can be swapped out for regular garlic in most recipes. With a dark, gooey, and beautiful appearance, it can be a wonderful addition to any dish, or even as a pizza topper. Garlic is used for seasoning food, and it has lots of health benefits. However, the intense taste and smell of fresh raw garlic make it difficult for some people to appreciate it. Black Garlic is one of the useful garlic types with an odorless character. Black garlic isn’t anything new. It has been used for medicinal purposes and in a variety of cuisines for centuries. Black Garlic is made by aging, with heat, garlic bulbs over the course of weeks or months. The Maillard Reaction requires regulated temperature and humidity to achieve its gooey consistency. When compared with fresh garlic, Black Garlic does not release a strong "garlicky" flavor owing to the reduced content of allicin. Apparently, Black Garlic reveals many advantages when contrasted with fresh garlic.

The process of making black garlic is not difficult - it just takes time and requires the proper environment. It can be aged for up to 60 days but will be ready to use after three weeks. There are a variety of do-it yourself (DIY) methods of making Black Garlic. One of the simplest and best approaches is to age garlic bulbs in a slow cooker or rice cooker. The process is easy and takes patience to achieve that super sweet result.


Fresh Garlic (3-4 heads)


Vessel. This may include a rice cooker (that does not have an automatic shutoff), a Black Garlic Maker.

Cooking Instructions

Select three to four heads of garlic. Purchase garlic from GroEat Farm.

Start with large garlic varieties such as Porcelains (Music, German Extra-Hardy, Georgian Crystal, or Georgian Fire). Heads are large as are the cloves. The cloves should be partly broken away from each other and the entire head should be intact. The garlic should be fresh, not rotting or sprouting.

Wash, clean and dry the whole garlic bulbs. Do not peel any skin off.

Obtain a vessel. Use a slow cooker or a rice cooker to make the black garlic. The rice cooker cannot have an automatic turn-off switch. In other words, the rice cooker needs to stay in the "keep warm" mode indefinitely. You can purchase a black garlic fermenting machine on You can also build an enclosed box using a standard insulated cooler with a controlled / adjustable heat source inside the insulated cooler.

Put the clean garlic bulbs in your vessel. Set the temperature to 122- 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Set the humidity to 60-80%. Set a timer for 12 hours.

After the first 12 hours change the settings on the vessel to 160 degrees Fahrenheit and change the humidity to 90% for 36 hours.

After 36 hours, turn the temperature of the vessel down to 180 Fahrenheit with the humidity to 95% for 200-300 hours or eight (8-12) days. At the end of the eight to twelve days the black will be complete. If you do not chose to use a fermenting box then try to follow the same temperature settings with your rice cooker or stove. (though this is not recommended).


Fermentation Station:

2nd Option Fermentation Station:

3rd Option Station:

Brad Makes Black Garlic | It's Alive | Bon Appétit



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Jere Folgert is the owner of GroEat Garlic Farm in Bozeman, Montana. GroEat Farm is a small, sustainable family farm located in the beautiful Hyalite Foothills, in the shadows of the Gallatin Mountain Range.  The hardneck varieties that they grow on their farm flourish, due to the combination of the cold winters, temperate summers, moist spring, and the dynamic alluvial soils, washed down from the Gallatin Range.

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