Black garlic is often thought to be a fermented product, but this is not so. The process involves no microbial action of any kind, and is instead brought about through the Maillard reaction, which involves steeping white garlic bulbs in a humidity-controlled environment for 30 days at a temperature of between 140 and 170 degrees Fahrenheit.
Once the bulbs are removed from the heat, they are placed in a clean room to naturally oxidize for a further 45 days. Then the garlic, which naturally contains sugars and amino acids, produces melanoidin – a dark substance which colors the bulbs jet black. The process results in the garlic becoming softer and chewier. The normal pungency and spiciness is replaced by a gentler taste somewhere between balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, and prune juice. Even those who hate garlic will like black garlic.
Black garlic’s health benefits derive from the plant’s high concentrations of sulfurous compounds, like s-allycysteine (SAC), which derives from the amino acid cysteine and may help lower levels of cholesterol.
According to nutritionist Robert Hobson, s-allcysteine is water soluble, “which means it is absorbed more quickly and easily by the body.” The substance is made during the lengthy process described above, and is the result of the compound’s transformation from allicine, the element that makes garlic smell so strongly.
• A positive impact on blood pressure and circulation, according to Robert Hobson.
• Lowered cholesterol levels.
• SAC inhibits cholesterol synthesis, according to a study by Pennsylvania State University.
• Offers protection against infections as a natural antibiotic.
Black garlic has a distinctly Asian sweet and savory quality. Its texture is tender and somewhat jelly-like. The really good news is that it leaves no smell behind. Making it a great addition to a meal (or snack) since it won’t cause bad breath. You can also purchase black garlic in the form of a supplement.
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