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Food Tech: Black is the New Garlic

It’s garlic, but not as you know it. Rich, dark and delicious, Garlicious Grown black garlic is an ingredient for the everyday cook to make dishes more interesting, more fun and even tastier. Black garlic is garlic that has been naturally transformed to change not just its colour and texture but also its flavour. Gone is the pungent tang, replaced with a sweet mellow flavour that is reminiscent of molasses and caramel. The sharpness of raw garlic has been replaced by a lingering sense of deliciousness, a sensation the Japanese refer to as umami. This all happens without the use of any additional ingredients, chemicals or enzymes.

Garlicious Grown black garlic starts life as quality hard-necked garlic grown in Braidwood in the New South Wales Southern Tablelands about an hour from Canberra. It’s grown by farming friends and business partners Jenny Daniher and Cathy Owen. They were growing garlic for themselves, friends and family but realised they needed to take their endeavours a little more seriously. Growing commodity garlic didn’t offer enough return for the amount of hard work that goes into planting the bulbs in autumn and harvesting in summer, along with the organic style of hand weed control and application of compost fertiliser. They needed to value add. They decided on creating a brand of black garlic. The process involves taking only the best quality garlic and placing it in a special chamber at high humidity but low temperature for 30 days. During this period oxidation takes place and the chemistry inside each separate clove of garlic changes naturally. The strong garlic aromas are transformed into compounds that taste delicious; starch turns to sugars and the fructans decrease. Most importantly, the colour turns from white to black.

Charred Heirloom Carrots with black garlic vinaigrette, honey toasted seeds and nuts

It is this distinctive change that makes Garlicious Grown black garlic such a standout in the kitchen. The black colour makes it a dramatic addition to any dish and the savoury flavour enhances dishes from fish to beef. It has been a traditional ingredient in Korean cooking for centuries, where it is celebrated for its health-giving properties. There it is served with kim chi and cooked with noodle dishes adding both an earthy note and a natural sweetness. Australian chefs and home cooks have embraced black garlic, mixing it with something as simple as butter in a food processor to slather over steamed vegetables or dab onto a seared steak. Black garlic has been added to slow braises for lamb and beef cheeks, where it acts like nature’s stock cube giving an underlying sense of savouriness alongside that sweet aromatic note. Black garlic teams brilliantly with vegetable dishes, where it works with earthy notes in potatoes, cauliflower and lifts the entire dish with its aroma and what some people describe as ‘yumminess’. Black garlic can be a surprise ingredient with dark chocolate desserts.

While we are big fans of Garlicious Grown black garlic at Essentials, we are not the only ones. Some of Australia’s best chefs have been using Garlicious Grown black garlic including Tony Panetta at the International Convention Centre in Sydney, where he has been showcasing the ingredient to delegates from around the globe. Janet Jeffs from Ginger Catering at the National Arboretum in Canberra uses the product as do the chefs at the Good Food Guide hat winning restaurant Flower Drum in Melbourne.

Warmed Black Garlic Bulb with goats labneh spiced saffron oil and black garlic salted flat bread

Garlicious Grown black garlic is available peeled and unpeeled and as a ready-to-use powder that can be sprinkled over dishes or added to stocks and sauces to add flavour to everyday cooking.

Garlicious Grown
For recipe ideas (feature above) and a list of stockists, or to buy online, visit: garliciousgrown.com.au