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Black Clove of Garlic vs. White Clove of Garlic

A black clove of garlic has all of the health benefits from the sulfur allicin compound like a white clove of garlic but is sweet without the strong odor and garlic breath and has even more antioxidants per garlic clove.
White and black garlic

     Nowadays, most everyone knows of the many health benefits of garlic.  A black clove of garlic is completely different from a white clove of garlic; although, they both start out from the same garlic clove.  Read on if you want to reap all of the health benefits while eliminating the pungent odor of garlic breath. Garlic, Allium sativum, is a member of the onion family: Alliaceae.  Just some of the nutrients found in garlic are calcium, phosphorus, selenium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and manganese.  Brimming with sulfur compounds and allicin which provide precious health benefits, fresh raw garlic is the best way to preserve them.   Unfortunately, a raw clove of garlic is not one of the most palatable foods to consume. Not to mention, you may still be experiencing a very unpleasant aftertaste yet the morning after.  People that normally flock to you, suddenly run in the other direction.   In steps Japanese black garlic to the rescue.  With its soft, almost gelatinous texture; and, caramelized, smoky sweetness, you could eat it by the jarful. The best news is that no one will ever know that you just ate six bulbs of garlic.

     Black garlic is much milder and sweeter in taste than regular garlic.  It is made from the same white garlic we are all familiar with, but it has been fermented; or technically, dried and aged under controlled conditions. No additives or preservatives are necessary or used.  This aging process softens the cloves of garlic while also greatly reducing the pungent odor and flavor normally associated with garlic.  It also converts the alliin into s-allylcysteine, a water soluble compound which makes the beneficial allicin more easily absorbed in our system. This process also greatly increases the antioxidants found in black garlic.  Black garlic is claimed to have as much as two to ten times the amount of antioxidants found in regular garlic. Imagine garlic that is so good for you and no garlic breath!  So why should we eat more garlic? Let's start with:

                                         Boosting our immune system

                              Reducing our cholesterol levels

                              Preventing heart disease and stroke

                              Relieving respiratory distress

                              Combating colds and flu

                              Preventing headaches

                              Reducing blood pressure

                              Increasing metabolism

                              Detoxing heavy metals

                              Preventing cancer

                              Protecting liver and kidney health

                              Promoting colon health

                              Natural antibiotic

A clove of garlic needs to be minced, chopped, or crushed to break down the cell walls and release the sulfur allicin compound from within the cells to maintain the health benefits when cooking or roasting garlic.
Garlic minced with chef's knife

     Black garlic can be consumed by simply peeling and eating or adding to your favorite recipe.  White garlic can be cooked and still retain most of the health benefits when prepared properly.  If you enjoy the pungent flavor of regular garlic in your recipes, then please learn the proper way to prepare it while still reaping all of its benefits.  Heat and improperly prepared garlic destroys nearly all of the health benefits, so pay close attention. It's really very simple.  Just what is a garlic clove?  The solid white cluster is called a bulb of garlic.  When you break it open the individual pieces are called the cloves.  Start by breaking the cloves away from the bulb. Peel each individual clove.  Now break down the garlic cloves by:  chopping, mincing, slicing, grinding, grating, pounding, stomping, crushing, mashing, smashing or jumping on top of it. Or all of the above.  The point is to break it up and allow it to 'rest' for 10-15 minutes before throwing it into a hot frying pan.  Crushing the garlic ruptures the cell walls. During this short time period, naturally occurring enzymes mingle to create the desired sulfur compound allicin.  The garlic is now minimally effected by heat, and most of the wonderful health benefits are retained.  For further protection and maximum flavor, it is recommended that garlic be exposed to heat for as little time as possible at the lowest temperature possible.  Overcooking or scorching garlic tends to make the flavor bitter.

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

     The ever popular recipe, chicken with 40 cloves of garlic, can be made much healthier.  Simply pierce or crush the cloves. and allow them to rest, before placing them into the cavity of the chicken.  Optionally, add some sliced onions in with the garlic along with some fresh herbs.  Rosemary, thyme, or sage go well with chicken.  Rub down the breast and legs of the chicken with some olive oil, garlic and sprinkle with herbs.  Add salt and pepper if desired.  Sprinkle with some paprika for the finishing touch.  Roast in the oven at 350 degrees for 1-1 1/2 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.  If you have a crock pot, slow cooking is even better.  More of the juices are retained in the meat of the chicken, and the lower temperature is more favorable for the garlic benefits.    Once again, just be sure the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees.

Roasted Garlic

     The same rules apply for roasting garlic.  Removing any loose skin and cut away the top of each bulb. Then either pierce the individual cloves, or roll and press the whole bulb against a cutting board to release the allicin. Allow it to rest, then drizzle with olive oil.  Place in foil or garlic roaster in a 400 degree oven for approximately 40 minutes.

Garlic Storage

An unglazed clay garlic keeper works best for garlic storage because the moisture from the bulb of garlic is absorbed into the clay.
Unglazed Clay Garlic Keeper
     When purchasing garlic, choose bulbs that are white, firm and not sprouting.  Properly stored, unbroken garlic bulbs, can last up to eight weeks.  Individual cloves will last 8-10 days.  After that they begin so soften and deteriorate and should be discarded.

       Good air circulation is the key to storing garlic.  Wire baskets, paper bags, or hung in netting work well.  The very best thing for storing garlic is a garlic keeper made out of unglazed clay.  These types of garlic keepers work so well because any moisture in the bulb of garlic is absorbed into the clay. 

     Store fresh garlic at a cool room temperature of around 60 degrees.  Garlic should not be refrigerated as it can cause mold growth.

     To avoid sprouting, store garlic away from sunlight in a dark place:  a cupboard, cellar, or shady area of kitchen.

     Freezing fresh garlic is not recommended as it changes the texture and flavor of the garlic.  Roasted garlic has already softened and does retain more of the flavor when frozen. 

Organic white garlic bulbs should be purchased when firm, white, and not sprouting,


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