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Black Garlic: Definition, Uses And Benefits

Black garlic is obtained through the "Maillard reaction" process. It has a lot of properties and health benefits.
Black garlic is highly valued for its properties and health benefits.

Black garlic is a type of garlic used in Asian cuisine, and it is  increasingly popular throughout the world. This food provides a large number of properties to the body, it has a particular taste, and it is appreciated in haute cuisine.

In this article, we will find out what black garlic is, what its uses are and what its main properties and benefits are for the body.

What is black garlic? (The Maillard reaction process)

Black garlic is a variety of the typical garlic that it is obtained after a period of heating that can be natural, as a result of sun exposure or from high temperatures exposure, achieved artificially. This process, known as "Maillard reaction" is obtained generally after the exposure of garlic to high temperatures during 20 or 30 days. 

Although this type of garlic is usually obtained voluntarily by humans, the Maillard reaction can also be involuntary when it is kept for a long time under high temperatures in a humid environment. 

It is true that it is mistakenly considered that the black is due to the fermentation of natural white garlic, but the truth is that the Maillard reaction is based in chemical reactions that have nothing to do with the appearance of microbes.

Black garlic is associated with a large number of uses, mainly culinary and increasingly medicinal, thanks to the many benefits it brings to the body.

Culinary uses

Although it is a relatively unknown food in many western countries, its culinary uses are equivalent to the ones of the white garlic. One of the most peculiar facts about black garlic is that it is used in the elaboration of different kinds of chocolate.

As previously said, it is traditionally used in Asian cuisine, mainly in Japan, Korea, and Thailand. With the growing impact of Asian cuisine in the West, this type of food is increasingly used in Western kitchens and also in the rest of the world.

This unusual food has been popular in the United States for a decade now, and it is associated to the haute cuisine and the preparations of the most exclusive chefs, mainly in the United Kingdom and some other countries of Europe such as Spain or France.

A very little known fact about black garlic is that it is usually used in the production of some types of chocolate.

 

Properties and benefits

In many countries, black garlic is considered an almost miraculous food due to its benefits to the organism. It is said that the transformation garlic undergoes enhances its properties and the beneficial effects of garlic.

In the following lines, we will focus on the main properties of black garlic that can be beneficial to physical health.

1. Less garlic smell and taste

One of the consequences of transforming normal garlic into black garlic is that it loses its characteristic intense smell and taste, so annoying for some people.

This means that when it comes to cooking black garlic, we no longer impregnate our hands or the utensils that have any contact with it with the smell that can remain throughout the day.

Black garlic also loses much of the classic and strong flavor of its classic version, so when we eat it, it will not leave that characteristic aftertaste in our mouths all day.

2. It prevents some diseases

As with white garlic, one of the main properties of the black one is its role in the prevention of a wide variety of diseases. Firstly, garlic is good for arterial pressure so it could prevent cardiovascular diseases, apart from regulating the blood levels of cholesterol, sugar, and fat. 

Apart from this, according to some research, it also has antioxidant, diuretic, antibacterial, and antiseptic effects, so its regular consumption can delay cellular aging, promote wound healing, skin regeneration and prevent a large number of infections and other health problems.

Other possible benefits of this food that is currently being studied are those related to the prevention of breathing diseases, such as asthma, or the treatment of conditions such as insomnia, constipation, diabetes, or different kind of allergies. 

3. It is more aromatic

Although during the transformation process of black garlic this loses its characteristic aroma, the truth is that the taste and aroma of it have been described as candied, caramelized or with notes reminiscent of balsamic or fruity flavors, very suitable to include in haute cuisine and for experimentation in all types of dishes.

Also, its texture becomes more soft and tender, so it's ideal for making emulsions and mild sauces. The new characteristics that it adopts once it has gone through this process make it an excellent food to use in all types of kitchens.

4. It improves digestion

This property is a consequence of the first one, as it loses all the original power and flavor, black garlic is an excellent food for people with digestive problems that don't tolerate the traditional garlic. 

Also, having this food fasting can provide a high number of benefits at a digestive level: the cleansing of the digestive system, reduction of acidity problems, etc.

5. It is a revitalizing food

Finally, another benefit of black garlic for our body is its revitalizing effect. Consuming this food on a regular basis could help us improve our mood, reduce fatigue and increase our physical stamina, and also reduce stress and anxiety.

In some cultures, black garlic is considered food with aphrodisiac properties, although there is still no scientific evidence regarding this.

References

Benwick, B. S. (2009). Black Garlic, the Next 'It' Thing. Washington Post. p. F04.

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