Black Garlic - Probably the Easiest Way to Make It at Home!

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About: A crazy mix between a physician and a mad scientist...

Boys and Girls, I'm back...

I was really busy for the last few months... But I'm back.

Those who know me, know that I love to eat weird stuff.

Black garlic is a wonderful treat, a sweet black paste that tastes a little bit like a fig mixed with Port wine and a drop of Worchestershire sauce. Wonderful.

And wonderfully expensive if you want to buy some (and manage to find it!).

Others like Akulinary have described clever ways to build custom boxes to make your own black magic. But what if you don't have the space or the interest of building one?

The easiest solution is usually the best one... So without further wait, behold what is probably the easiest way to make your own black garlic...with 3 elements and 3 easy steps...

Step 1: You Will Need :

You really don't need much...

  1. A rice cooker. The cheaper the better. No electronics... Just find the model with a single "cook rice button" on the front.
  2. Garlic, obviously.
  3. Patience.

Step 2: Put the Garlic in the Rice Cooker...

How difficult is this?

Don't overdo it... No water, no flavoring, no anything.

Just put the garlic in the cooker ok? Nothing more.

And while at it, say goodbye to your garlic and close the lid!

Step 3: Plug the The Rice Cooker

Again, don't overdo it.

Do not touch the "cook rice" button. Ever. Just plug the cooker in a socket. The "Keep warm" will turn on right away.

Double check... "Keep warm" light should be on. "Rice cooking" should be off.

As a security, take the time to put some tape over the big inviting button in the front, ensuring no one will be tempted to touch it.

Write down the date on a piece of tape and put it on the cover, just to remember when you started your black garlic.

Step 4: Wait : Three Weeks

Yes, that is the difficult part.

You have to wait.

A full three weeks.

Yep, 21 full days.

504 hours.

30 240 minutes.

1 814 400 seconds.

You get the idea.

Don't put an alarm. It's not and exact science.

Don't open the lid. Don't check. Trust the magic.

The Maillard reaction is slowly working its magic...

Then, wake up one morning to open the lid and see the parchment-like garlic heads smiling back at you.



Addendum : After trying different cooking times, I would now say that 17 days is probably enough if you want a fig-like texture. The full 21 days gives a texture resembling gummy bears. Both are viable options, and around me, some prefer the 14 days and other the 21... A friend who tried this recipe on a larger scale needs more time for the same results. Something to consider before buying the biggest rice cooker on the market!

Step 5: Conclusion

It is very easy to remove the black cloves from their skins as their size will have reduced during the "cooking".

You can probably keep them in the fridge for a long time, freeze them or dry them. But with so much taste and so many recipes just waiting for your garlic, don't worry too much about conservation.

I've tried comparing locally grown garlic to cheap Chinese garlic available at my local grocery. The locally grown was tastier and sweeter. But it is probably only because the purple stripe garlic is better tasting than the porcelain variety in the first place.

Don't worry if you only have access to the "usual" porcelain garlic. It will still be delicious.

A few words of caution...

During the process, it will smell garlic. A LOT.

Your house, your clothes... everything will smell garlic. This is why the rice cooker is happy in my shed. My shed doesn't care.

Also, I'm not sure how different models of rice cooker will deal with being kept on "Warm" for three weeks. Mine worked perfectly. Be careful.

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    14 Discussions

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    DianeM168

    Question 8 months ago

    I got a rice cooker with a 'Keep Warm' function. I checked the temp with my over thermometer and it was less than 150 degrees. I put my garlic cloves in. After 1 week, they were black, but I left them in a little longer, 5 days. When I took one out it was hard as a rock. They were all hard as a rock. I did check them once or twice during the process. But what did I do wrong? Everyone raves about the success they've had with rice cookers. This one does not seem to be getting too hot. Suggestions?

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    fmarquisDianeM168

    Answer 8 months ago

    While I don't know for sure, the most likely reason is that your cooker is too advanced. It must have some kind of fan that criticaly reduces the amount of humidity in the cooker. You actually dehydrated the garlic while "cooking" it. Don't trash it. Grind it and and add the powdered garlic to your hamburger meat it should be fabulous. Keep me posted non the results!

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    DianeM168

    Question 8 months ago

    There doesn't seem to be an 'edit' function. I meant bulbs, not cloves. I put in whole bulbs.

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    chess1306

    Question 9 months ago on Introduction

    Hi, and thanks soooo much for this article, I know the first person to respond asked the same question I'm going to ask, but no one really gave an answer then (4 months ago) so I will ask again, can you peel the garlic bulb and just put in the cloves to turn black, or do they HAVE to be blubs? A definitive answer from anyone would be greatly appreciated.

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    fmarquischess1306

    Answer 9 months ago

    I actually only tried this way. I only know people who tried this way. And traditionally, it is done this way. You'll have to try... but by experience, the skin protects the garlic against dehydration. I think you would end up with a very dry product. But maybe this could be a good thing?

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    RiZ3

    1 year ago

    does the garlic have to be whole with he skin on? I have dehydrator that I would like to use however there isn't enough space between the shelves for a whole garlic ( let alone one wrapped in foil).

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    fmarquisRiZ3

    Reply 1 year ago

    I only tried the whole thing. A dehydrator wouldn't my first choice as the water content in the garlic is a very variable in the reaction.

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    Drake411

    1 year ago

    Thank you. I was testing out my crock pot yesterday afternoon with a thermometer on low. Sadly it jumped to 180° fairly quickly. In the past I made an extension cord with a dimmer switch in it and was able to use that to lower the temperature to the into the target range of 140 to 165. It made the house hot and I wasn't able to test it long term.

    I expect that anyone who uses your tutorial could do the same thing with a dimmer switch and get additional control of the temperature. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

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    fmarquisDrake411

    Reply 1 year ago

    There is no reason for the dimmer option not to work. However, making black garlic in your house will quickly give you the impression that you are living in a garlic clove, which may have an impact of your social life.

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    dtjessup

    2 years ago

    On Wiki it states that Maillard typically proceeds rapidly from around 140 to 165 °C (284 to 329 °F. the warm on a rice cooker is usually 140-170F so is it still the same?

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    fmarquisdtjessup

    Reply 2 years ago

    I think the keyword here is rapidly. Low and slow, like the ultimate slow food... 3 weeks!

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    dtjessup

    2 years ago

    my cooker on warm is only pulling 33 watts so 3 weeks should be low risk,

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    ottavio2006

    3 years ago

    Interesting, but is the one you have used a special rice cooker? Not all rice cooker have a "keep warm" button.

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    fmarquisottavio2006

    Reply 3 years ago

    Actually, the very cheap ones will all enter the keep warm mode by default when plugged. The only control is a "push once" to start the cooking cycle. Look at the rice cooker : as long as you have two lights and one big button in the front, it should work!