Rotten vs Fermented: It's All Relative
I might have previously blogged about my book, 'Wild Fermentation', by Sandor Katz. It's a rad book with sweet recipes for fostering your own personal relationship with the micro-organism world. I love this book dearly, and have had lots of fun with my own fermentation adventures, but recently found that it leaves out an intriguing item from its otherwise extensive collection of worldy recipes: Black Garlic.
I just discovered this absolutely incredible creation at the East Lansing Food Co-Op, and upon several web searches, realized that I am way behind the ball on this one. Apparently some popular cooking shows have recently used black garlic, and it has received well-deserved PR in the process: one of the sites that came up on my search was Lance Armstrong's 'Livestrong' site, so I suppose some of you might have already seen/heard of it. For me, however, black garlic's appearance in my own life is like a delicious, fermented gift from the heart of the Earth.
Everything I've read so far has pointed to fermented black garlic as having more antioxidants, more nutrients, more great digestive properties and more anti-viral, anti-fungal powers as regular, raw garlic cloves. Being the suspicious consumer that I am, and despite the D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S flavor of those tacky, balsamic-vinegary cloves (and my immediate addiciton to them), I am skeptical about its creation process. Many of the sites I found would not explain exactly how it was made, but kept referring to a 'high-heat, controlled fermentation process' that lasted anywhere from 21-40 days. I even found a recipe to make it myself, but I am even more skeptical I could coax 40 consistent days' worth of my home oven's operation to produce my own black garlic.
Oh well. If it turns out black garlic is bogus, at least I will have had this fleeting love affair to look back fondly upon. But until it is proven guilty of GMO-inclusion, non-sustainable production, or bizarro food additive-inclusion, I am eating up as much black garlic as I can stomach, and I think you should, too.