What is Black Garlic? 21st Oct, 2015

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Black garlic is not some Halloween-themed version of the clove. Nor is it garlic that's been sitting around longer than usual until the health-boosting bulb has shrivelled into a blackened fossil. On the contrary, black garlic is being touted the world over for its life-enhancing nutrients, as well its distinctive, sweet flavour.

If you're wondering how and why black garlic gains its dramatic colour, it's simply a result of some carefully managed chemistry. Premium white garlic bulbs are expertly heat-aged over several months, resulting in a delicious caramelisation of the cloves, reminiscent of rich balsamic vinegar and molasses.

First used in Asian cuisine, black garlic is gaining widespread popularity for its versatility in the kitchen. But the soft, syrupy cloves can also be enjoyed straight from the tub, as they lack the pungency of fresh garlic. Indeed, they make an incredibly virtuous snack, and even children love tucking into the sweet cloves, which have a similar chewy texture to dried fruit.

Why not….

•Add to a bolognese or chilli con carne, for an unctuous molasses-like flavour

•Sauté with wild mushrooms, to pep up an omelette or risotto

•Slice cloves and insert into a scored camembert to oven-bake

•Use in place of regular garlic to make a sweeter style humous

•Scatter whole cloves amongst roasted vegetable, towards the end of cooking

•Chop finely and mix with soy sauce for a scrumptious glaze on salmon or chicken

•Fry with scallops for a super seafood supper

Good to know

•Black garlic has twice as many anti-oxidants as raw garlic. Anti-oxidants protect cells from disease and are thought to slow down ageing.

•It also contains S-Allycysteine, a natural compound that is believed to lower cholesterol and also decrease the risk of cancer