Food & dining

One benefit of black garlic, besides great taste? No garlic breath.

Western New York’s Ribbon Road Farm transforms fresh elephant garlic into black garlic.
Ribbon Road Farm
Western New York’s Ribbon Road Farm transforms fresh elephant garlic into black garlic.

You may have never seen garlic like this: the color of squid ink, glistening, soft and tender, tangy and sweet with the flavor of molasses. This is black garlic, long a cooking staple in Korea and other Asian countries and often recognized for its antioxidant properties. Ribbon Road Farm, an organic garlic farm in western New York, transforms fresh elephant garlic into black garlic with stages of temperature and humidity. The process creates some fermentation and lessens the garlic’s pungent taste — which means no garlic breath! The company sells the cloves peeled from their dried, darkened husks ($10 for 4 ounces). “Black garlic is versatile and adds a lot of umami to dishes,” says Tracy Chang, owner and chef at Pagu in Cambridge. “I add it to something that is a bit bland, like shrimp, eggplant, or aioli.” Chop up cloves and add them to a simmering sauce or pasta, or use them to top a pizza. Mash some into softened butter for a spread for crackers or crostini. “Vanilla ice cream and black garlic would be a tasty experiment,” says Chang. Available at Wegmans locations.

ANN TRIEGER KURLAND

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