Garlic is a magical plant. You place it into the soil in the fall, when everything else is going dormant. Then out pop little green shoots. Sometimes they don’t wait and grow all through the winter. In the summer you harvest this amazing treasure. You never know what the bulb will look like until you pull it up. I love the surprise of a really big garlic, and the laughter that results when you think you have a big one, but it ends up being a pip squeak.
Garlic is just as impressive in the kitchen as it is in the garden. I cook everything with garlic in it. Soups, stir fry, breads, sauces, pastas, everything gets at least a few cloves. We even use black garlic in our desserts. Garlic is a healthful food, toting antiviral properties, immune boosting, and anti-parasite action (it will repel mosquitos if you eat enough). Garlic is also easy to preserve. It will keep for months just as a bulb and can be pickled, stored in oil or honey, fermented, or dried.
Black garlic is our newest garlic passion here on the farm. Black garlic is garlic that has been heated in the papers, unpeeled, slowly for two weeks. Caramelizing the sugars in the garlic, creating completely new flavors through a process called the Maillard reaction, and mellowing the spicy nature of the cloves. It is touted as an even more healthful version of its raw brethren, with higher levels of antiviral compounds that chemically change as it heats slowly. The flavor is mellow and softened by the process, lending it to a whole different type of use than raw or roasted garlic.
Here is a recipe for an amazing surprise, black garlic ice cream.
Take 1 ½ to 2 cans of coconut cream and chill in the fridge for 24 hours. Amount of milk will be based on how large your ice cream maker is. I like the recipe with less coconut milk so the garlic really shines.
Mix the coconut milk with ⅛ to ¼ cup honey, 2 tsp vanilla, and 2-3 mashed cloves of black garlic. You may want to place a small amount of the coconut milk with the black garlic in a mason jar and use an immersion blender to blend it well so it will mix evenly into the ice cream. Once all the ingredients are mixed well place in your ice cream maker until it starts to solidify. Once it has almost set, mix in ½ cup chocolate chips or ½ cup chopped nuts (or both).
Once set, place the ice cream into the freezer quickly so you do not lose the loft and creamy mouth feel of this amazing summer treat. And what ever you do, do not drizzle it with molasses and whipped cream, or you will eat it all at once.