Garlic evokes characteristic smells and very healthy associations. Everyone knows that a small clove of garlic houses a natural antibiotic that has antibacterial, or antiviral, properties. At the same time, it has a smell that some people reject, while for others it is an indispensable part of culinary endeavors. Did you know that black garlic also exists? Is it a variation of the traditional one, or the result of some kind of transformation?
Black garlic is a health-promoting substance already known in ancient Asia, which is currently experiencing a renaissance. It is not any variety, but the most ordinary garlic, which in the process of aging has changed its properties. This process is lengthy and requires certain temperature conditions and appropriate humidity. After about 6-8 weeks of storage at elevated temperatures (40-90°C) and humidity (60-90%), without the use of microorganisms or chemicals, garlic changes.
The result of this process is the non-enzymatic browning reaction, which was described in 1912 by French chemist Louis Maillard (a series of chemical reactions that occur mostly under heat, between amino acids and reducing sugars). To complicate things further – allicin is converted into water-soluble antioxidant compounds such as S-allilocysteine, tetrahydro-β-carbolines and biologically active alkaloids. Of considerable interest in black garlic is the level of S-allylcysteine (SAC), of which there is more in it than in white garlic. The longer the aging time, the SAC content increases significantly.
Once we know how it is made, it may be worth answering the question, does such a lengthy process make any sense? Do the properties of black garlic compensate for the time it takes to make it? Well, yes! In addition to its culinary or nutritional properties, the “black effect of aging” has an incredible number of applications that benefit our health. Among other things, it affects the immune system, the cardiovascular system, or our digestion. It fights free radicals, protects the liver, fights obesity, affects our immunity, suppresses cancer, calms allergies, and is a natural antibiotic. It can be concluded that consuming fresh garlic also has these effects. The black version has a much higher content of allicin and amino acids and antioxidants, as well as the compounds we wrote about above. This makes black garlic unique, hence nowadays its popularity is increasing day by day.
The question arises, what device will allow you to meet all the necessary parameters to produce black garlic? Preferably, it will be a device that allows close control of the conditions necessary for the garlic aging process. Climate chambers manufactured by Pol-Eko-Aparatura are ideal for these processes. What are climate chambers used for?
Climate chambers are a group of thermostatic devices allowing you to control both temperature and humidity, which is essential in the process of black garlic production. Taking into account the type of charge in the chamber – POL-EKO offers a wide range of chambers with ultrasonic and steam humidifier. An important advantage of climate chambers is the latest Smart PRO controller, which additionally facilitates the control of the device. Another advantage is the LabDesk software that allows you to control the device remotely from e. g. a computer.
We decided to see for ourselves how our equipment would cope with the production of black garlic and test the climate chamber, which is ideal for research as an aging chamber. A model with a KKS 240 steam humidifier was used during the experiment. Batch – Polish organic garlic was evenly distributed on 4 shelves in the chamber. The temperature setting on the Smart PRO controller was 60 degrees and 80% humidity.
The Smart PRO controller allowed viewing the load thanks to a camera placed inside the chamber. This avoided the unnecessary opening of the chamber door and allowed visual control of the process. It is extremely important that climate chambers, as specialized laboratory equipment, are sealed devices. This allowed the garlic to ferment without bacteria or microbes – so the proper processes took place and our batch didn’t spoil. The chamber was first opened after 2 weeks. The garlic actually started to change color. After 4 weeks, the garlic had already turned black. The batch was pulled out after 5 weeks with great success.
In addition to the change in color from white to black, the taste and texture of garlic has changed. The previously sharper and more pronounced garlic flavor has changed to a more delicate and sweet flavor. The texture changed from hard to soft and pliable. After 5 weeks of transformations, the intense garlic smell disappeared. The weight of the garlic itself has also changed. Per kilo of fresh garlic, after 5 weeks, the weight dropped by half.
It succeeded in achieving its goal faster than the literature had predicted. During the whole research, the climate chamber of POL-EKO-APARATURA perfectly kept both temperature and humidity. Temperature and humidity stability results were very good. The range of temperature change varied by only 0.05 degrees, humidity variation was 1 %. A period of 5 weeks of continuous work of the chamber allowed to achieve very good results. The long-lasting process of black garlic production took place without any disturbances and in full control, thanks to which we can be sure that we received a wholesome product produced in ideal conditions. Cheers!