How I turned a simple head of garlic into an antioxidant bomb

Dear Reader,

If I had found that weird garlic on my kitchen table, I would have thrown it in the trash, thinking it was rotten!

Yet, some pay dearly to have it on their plate. Indeed, this garlic is used by great chefs such as Harry Cummins or Franck Fresson.

But originally it is a remedy, used in traditional Chinese medicine, against: 



Infectious diseases such as colds, tuberculosis, and malaria.

How I turned a simple head of garlic into an antioxidant bomb

This mysterious garlic is black garlic!

You already know the incredible virtues of garlic (against oxidative stress, infections, hypertension, cholesterol, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, accumulation of heavy metals, and so on... ).

But with BLACK garlic, we move up a gear.

For 4,000 years, the Chinese have been aging white garlic (Allium sativum) in terracotta pots, maintaining a temperature of about 70°C and a humidity level of 80% for 40 days.

After this long wait, the garlic turned black like charcoal, soft like an Agen prune, and incredibly more nutritious.

Since garlic is already a superfood in itself, it can be said that black garlic is a hyper food.

Hyper-food rediscovered in 1999 by Japanese

It was from 1999 that Japanese researchers began to take an interest in black garlic. And since then, they have been stunned by its properties.

Before we talk about the properties of black garlic, I need to tell you why it has become the favorite ingredient of starred chefs.

What does black garlic taste like?

During these 40 days in a hot and humid environment, the garlic undergoes a beginning of Maillard reaction.

Do you remember that Maillard's reaction makes toast bread, chips, and overcooked meat... This toasted, they are oxidized molecules very harmful to health.

By slowing down and breaking down the Maillard reaction, we discover intermediate stages, including the Amadori/Heyns stadium – named after those who discovered it. This stage precedes oxidation, which is irreversible.

It is believed that the cooking of black garlic is interrupted at the Amadori/Heyns stage. Thus, it does not undergo harmful oxidation, unlike French fries.

This reaction will completely transform its flavor. The strong taste of garlic disappears when allicin is converted into antioxidants (alkaloids, flavonoids). Indeed, the intermediate stages of the Maillard reaction increase the amount of antioxidants in garlic.

Black garlic is umami, that is, it has a lot of taste. Its taste is reminiscent of balsamic vinegar (sweet and sour), licorice, and hazelnut.

It is therefore an exceptional and radically new ingredient that allows cooks to express their creativity. It also contains less fructose and glucose than fresh garlic.

Are you rich enough to buy black garlic?

It is difficult to produce black garlic of consistent quality.

The result varies greatly depending on several factors:

the duration of maturation (30, 40, 60 days),

temperature (60°C, 70°C, 80°C, 90°C) [6],

humidity (70%, 80%, 90%),

The amount of phenols in fresh garlic, and the amount of natural sugar in fresh garlic.

It sounds crazy, but I read a study in which researchers pulled their hair out to understand the influence of different parameters.

Another limitation: black garlic producers are still rare.

All this explains the high price of black garlic – up to €10 per bulb. No wonder it's reserved for gourmet restaurants.

But I will give you, at the end of my letter, a technique to produce black garlic at home, without much trouble.

Here's what black garlic can do for you

Garlic contains several interesting trace elements:

  • 850 mg of S-allyl-cysteine (per head of garlic).
  • Magnesium.
  • Phosphorus.
  • Selenium.
  • Vitamin B6.
  • Vitamin C.

Many studies have shown that black garlic contains at least twice as many antioxidants as fresh garlic. By the way, the work of Sasaki et al. 2007, showed that its antioxidant potential was 25 times higher than that of fresh garlic.

As a reminder, antioxidants prevent premature aging (including damage to your DNA) that your body suffers because of:

  • stress
  • poor diet,
  • alcohol, cigarettes,
  • pollution
  • And endocrine disruptors in soaps, detergents, beauty products, and packaging.

Thus, black garlic has amazing properties. It helps to: 

  • strengthen your immune defense system,
  • reduce allergies,
  • attack bad bacteria,
  • Fight against cancerous tumors. In 2010, Japanese and Chinese researchers tested the effectiveness of black garlic against cancerous tumors in mice. In 6 days, 1mg of black garlic per day halved the size of the tumors. Fresh garlic did not produce this effect.
  • reduce carcinomas (skin cancers),
  • regenerate skin cells,
  • fight against obesity,
  • reduce high blood pressure,
  • Control cholesterol. This was observed in lab rats while on a high-fat diet.
  • Fight diabetes.

How to produce black garlic at home

There is a simple technique to get black garlic at home.

You will need a rice cooker equipped with an airtight lid and the keep-warm function.

Choose garlic heads that are not split, and have not started to germinate.

  • Gently rub the shell of each head of garlic with a damp ling.
  • Place two sheets of paper towel at the bottom of the rice cooker.
  • Then layout your garlic buds on top. Depending on the size of your cooker, you should be able to prepare a dozen heads of garlic at the same time.
  • Cover the garlic heads with two sheets of paper towel.
  • Close the lid, place the device in a well-ventilated place, ideally on a balcony – otherwise, your whole house will smell like garlic!
  • In principle, simply plug in the device to activate the keep warm function.
  • And above all, do not start the cooking mode...!  

Leave your rice cooker plugged in to keep warm mode for about 14 days.

Observe from time to time the evolution of the color, the outer and inner texture. Use your common sense and intuition.

Good success!

And when your black garlic is ready, enjoy yourself and take good care of your health...!