By Leslie Kelly

Its deep, dark color might lead a cook to believe black garlic is something that's past its prime, ready be tossed in the compost. But don't! Black garlic joins the long list of good-for-your-gut probiotic-rich products like kimchi, sauerkraut, and salt-cured pickles that are gaining fans. The earliest "recipe" dates back 4,000 years to Korea, where it was created as a cure-all for everything from upset stomachs to aging. Black garlic not only has serious probiotic powers, but it tastes amazing. You can find it at upscale gourmet grocery stores, ordered online, and Trader Joe's now carries it in its produce department.

Photo by Leslie Kelly

The Blackening Process

Unlike sauerkraut and kimchi, black garlic is not fermented. Taking a snow white bulb to black involves "incubating" the garlic at around 150 degrees in a controlled environment for several weeks. Over time, the cloves turn black — the technical term is non-enzymatic browning — and when it's ready, black garlic can be used in any recipe that calls for fresh or roasted garlic. Instead of adding the bracing bite of fresh garlic, the black version imparts a rich, almost sweet quality. "It tastes like an aged balsamic vinegar," said Trap Landry, who's the production manager of Seattle-based Britt's Pickles. Pop a clove into your mouth and munch on it. Those who embrace that approach describe the texture as slightly chewy.

Try Black Garlic-ifying These Dishes

Savory Oat Risotto

Chicago-based documentary filmmakers created this dish as an earth-friendly meal, and the addition of black garlic adds even more depth to the feel-good bowl of creamy goodness.

Photo by Leslie Kelly

Prawns Fried in Garlic and White Pepper

This Thai preparation known as Goong Tod Kratiem Prik Thai goes heavy on the garlic -- 8 cloves -- but the salty-sweet seafood flavors of the prawns complement the rustic seasoning. Leave the shells on for a more authentic, extra flavorful experience.

Photo by Soup Loving Nicole

Pesto

Find more stories like this on Allrecipes Dish.

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