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  • Susan Koursaris, NTP, BCHN®

Trying New (Nutrient Dense) Foods: Black Garlic

Summer is all about new adventures and this can be a great mindset when it comes to trying new, nutrient-dense foods!

Use this season to step outside your comfort zone and try something different, simply because it is so good for you.

We’re focusing on black garlic. Now, before you gag and turn away in disgust, please allow me to describe to you this unbelievably awesome-tasting, absolute nutrient-powerhouse of an ingredient.

Black garlic is made by a slow fermentation process, taking 3-4 weeks for it to age properly, at temperatures of 140° – 170° Fahrenheit. What occurs during this time is a magical little reaction, known as the Maillard Reaction, where amino acids and reducing sugars produce a dark brown, distinctively tasty flavor. You know this delectable taste if you’ve ever seared your meat or toasted your bread to that gorgeous caramel-brown color. The garlic cloves are converted into a dark, soft, chewy consistency that no longer holds the pungency of raw garlic, but rather a mellow, sweet-tangy, molasses-like flavor that can be used in a variety of dishes.

For centuries, it has been consumed in Asian countries such as Japan, South Korea, and Thailand. Lucky for us, black garlic has been steadily gaining traction here in the States as an exotic, (and expensive) flavor bomb that adds just the right amount of sweet, ‘umami’ to gourmet dishes.

You may ask, ‘why do I need to try some snooty, obscure ingredient that I may never even use in my kitchen?’ Oh, my friend, you will use it. And I’ll bet you will love it. Or you will find a friend down the street that will love it. It’s win-win! Even if you’re not a foodie, I suggest consuming it merely for the amazing health benefits it has for you:

· Increased antioxidant potency – because of the fermentation process, the allicin that is the magical compound in garlic gets converted into bioavailable antioxidants, which prolong the health of cells and prevent cellular damage.

· Compounds have cell-regulating ability and are anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anti-allergy, and can modulate immune functions.

· Promotes healthy liver and heart function

· Protects against neurodegeneration

· Contains anti-diabetic properties which can reduce blood sugar levels

· Contains anti-obesity properties that can reduce body weight, reduce fat tissue mass, and reduce “bad cholesterol” markers

Barring you have any allergies to garlic, I highly recommend you try this at least once in your life.

‘How can I incorporate this into my diet?’, you might be wondering. There are many ways. You can eat it straight up or use as a smear on a baguette or cracker. It can also be incorporated into pastas, soups, meat, fish, sauces, dressings – the sky’s the limit. Take advantage of black garlic’s many health benefits and be sure to give your body an adventurous boost by trying some today!

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