As you may know, I have a condiment fetish. Half my fridge is filled with condiments, more if you count fermented things like kimchi, sauerkraut and various olives, pickles and capers. The times I’d had black garlic (on squash tacos at El Chucho down the street), the caramelly funkiness of it always captured me. I tried buying it online, but it was so expensive, and reviewers complained of quality. With a huge bag of garlic bulbs staring at me from my kitchen counter, I thought I should just try my hand at making some. I’d fermented lots of things, why not garlic?
Turns out, black garlic isn’t fermented, it’s just caramelized, low and slow, for a few weeks. The interwebs abound with different “recipes,” but the consensus seems to be to keep the garlic whole, in its skin, in an enclosed space at around 140 F for between 2-4 weeks (some said 40 days, but I got great results in 2 weeks). Many suggest a rice cooker, and that’s just what I used. After 2 days of our whole house smelling (delicious but overwhelmingly) like garlic, I moved the rice cooker to the porch.
Two weeks later, I put on some gloves and unwrapped my black gold! I can’t wait to add this funky, mysterious sweetness to everything from hot sauce to fried eggs!