Black garlic is made when heads of garlic are aged under specialized conditions of heat and humidity. Bulbs are kept in a humidity-controlled environment at temperatures that range from 60 to 77 °C (140 to 170 °F) for many weeks. It loses about half its weight during the process. There are no additives, preservatives, or burning of any kind. The enzymes that give fresh garlic its sharpness break down. Those conditions are thought to facilitate the Maillard (my-Yard) reaction, the chemical process that produces new flavor compounds responsible for the deep taste of seared meat and fried onions. The cloves turn black and develop a sticky date-like texture
In Taoism mythology, black garlic was even rumored to grant immortality – and, while we certainly can’t guarantee that, there is little doubt that it offers a ton of health benefits. It’s packed with nearly twice the amount of antioxidants as raw garlic – researchers have found that the aging/fermenting process appears to double its antioxidants. And, not coincidentally, a 2009 conducted in Japan found that it was more effective than fresh garlic for reducing the size of tumors.
Black garlic is also filled with a high concentration of sulfurous compounds. One of the compounds in particular, s-allylcycteine or SAC, has been scientifically found to offer numerous health benefits, including the inhibition of cholesterol synthesis – which in layman’s terms means that it can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.