How To Make Your Own Black Garlic

Have you ever heard of black garlic? If not, you're not alone. Thankfully, Bon Appétit is here to describe black garlic and why this food is coveted by chefs: "Sweet, earthy, minus the allium's characteristic heat — think of it as garlic's umami-packed shadow." While similar to traditional garlic with its savory flavor, black garlic is different in both texture and taste. Instead of crisp and biting, think date-like and mild. This garlic twist is created through slow aging of the garlic bulbs, creating what's known as a Maillard reaction — the process that adds the deep flavor we love in seared meats and fried onions (via Modernist Cuisine).

Black garlic is used in the same way you would use roasted garlic — puree it, spread it, or mix it into an oil. You can also dehydrate black garlic and turn it into a powder (think truffle powder without the same risk of overdoing it). Some examples of black garlic on restaurant menus may include:

  • Spiced Cauliflower with Avocado and Black Garlic at a.kitchen, Philadelphia
  • Skirt Steak Rubbed with Black Garlic at Upland, NYC

Make your own black garlic at home

If you're craving black garlic, or even simply curious — the good news is that you can make it from home. The ingredients are simple — you just need garlic, and six to seven unpeeled bulbs will do. Spruce Eats then explains that you'll need a rice cooker, and preferably one you don't need to use for a while. Remove dirt carefully from the bulbs with a clean, unused sponge. Don't get the bulbs wet, peel them, or use an old dish sponge, as this can affect the final results. Place bulbs into the rice cooker — but don't have them touch. Adjust your total bulbs based on space. Next, you'll set the rice cooker to warm (not low, as this will overcook them) and wait. 

How long? You'll need to wait two to three weeks as your bulbs evolve into a gooey blackness. Make sure to check the temp on a regular basis, as some rice cookers will automatically switch off. At the end of the warming time, you can either cook your black gold immediately, or store them in an airtight container for up to three weeks.