I had never heard of black garlic until receiving a black garlic fermenter as a gift. Researching more about it and how to use it I was excited to learn about it benefits for the brain and aging. Apparently besides protecting the heart and preventing cancer, black garlic may also help maintain memory. Its antioxidants can reduce inflammation in the brain and help block cognitive conditions such as dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. As a Feldenkrais® Practitioner and someone who is aging this is great knowledge.
What is Black Garlic? (Not to be mistaken for black garlic oil)
Garlic cloves turn black through an aging process using heat. It was first introduced through Asian cuisine. It is made by heating whole bulbs of garlic (Allium sativum) over the course of several weeks. With a fermenter the cloves are contained at a set temperature and humidity for 9 to 14 days. Once taken out of the chamber they are set aside to dry and rest for a number of weeks.
The black cloves are soft and gummy with a sweetness replacing the abrupt hit to the taste-buds from a raw clove. These cloves can be used in recipes for flavouring to sauces, eaten individually or spreadable for sandwiches and used as a pizza topping. These coves do not leave an uncomfortable garlic smell like raw cloves do.
The experience of making black garlic
Naively I set the fermenter up in the kitchen for the first batch and discovered how overpowering the smell was after a few days. This possibly attributed to none of us getting any viruses this winter! The second batch I set it up in a sheltered placement outside. The one mistake I made with the first batch was to cut off the tops of the cloves. This dried out the cloves and left them hard and too dry. Now I leave the cloves and outer casing intact fermenting them whole. They come out of the fermenter soft and gummy like.
Even tho the first batch was dry and hard I began munching on them to learn more about the experience. What I noticed is that the taste changes as the cloves age. They become sweeter and more delicate in flavour. It was instantly recognizable how these could enhance any recipe.
I discovered how easy it is to ferment garlic cloves with a fermenter.
The experience of eating black garlic
In my research I learned that for health benefits one could eat three to four cloves a day. I set an intention to begin to do just this while checking in with myself to notice any differences. As a Feldenkrais® Practitioner I am interested in the relationship between good food and function. I have experienced increased gut health eating fermented foods that directly impact brain function so I was curious and excited to find out more about any changes I would feel eating black garlic. One of the most notable differences was calming down my fear center of the brain. I can only describe it as food empathy! I had experienced this once before after seeing Doctor Abraham Hoffer in the mid nineties.
Background on noticing change in brain fear center
Doctor Hoffer was researching and designing water filters for living water that I wanted to investigate. I was on a deep detox after having a serious medical diagnosis and was learning about living water. Doctor Hoffer was the author of many books, one in particular was the Niacin Effect. Doctor Hoffer suggested that I take high does of vitamins to supplement my diet. His focus was on the lack of nutrition in foods available today that was no longer feeding the brain the nutrition it needed. Following his instructions I noticed my responses calmed down while driving. I was normally nervous to merge in high traffic areas and within a couple of weeks I recognized I had not been having any nervous reactions at all in these circumstances. After eating black garlic for a few days I noticed that this happened again while being a passenger in a car with my son. I hate to admit that I had been nervous riding with him. He is a good driver however his stops and starts have been too fast for my nervous system. This seems to be in the past now after eating black garlic. Now, I have no reactions to it!
I coach students to expand beyond their set patterns physically, mentally and emotionally and recognize how adding black garlic could support them to begin to take action naturally with no hesitation. In myself I recognize it as a source of nutrition for the brain center that can block one from fear and anxiety.
I have learned that black garlic can be expensive to buy already processed. The mesh bag of cloves above was $5.00 at a local market. The only added expense will be the electricity. I do not use a dishwasher, or microwave or electric pans so I this is a minor philosophical challenge. However, worth it.
I give black garlic and this fermenter my personal recommendation.
Another book by Doctor Hoffer:
- Presents an unified theory of nutrient deficiency and dependency. The authors prove that large, controlled doses of vitamin B-3 or niacin, are effective in preventing, treating, and even reversing such niacin deficiency and dependency disorders as pellagra, schizophrenia, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Traditional uses and properties of herbs are for educational purposes only. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Every attempt has been made for accuracy, but none is guaranteed. Any serious health concerns or if you are pregnant, you should always check with your health care practitioner before self-administering herbs.