Thursday, November 29, 2012

Intro and Black Garlic December Harvest

I'm starting this blog as a record of my hobbies. As a DIY enthusiast, I have a number of esoteric interests. I'm going to use this as a way to publicly record my pursuits, and as a basic host for various guides and project details.

That said, I have a December 1st harvest date for the most recent batch of black garlic from my cooler and light bulb based black garlic oven. The above picture is a pre-harvest sample that I took (after mistakenly believing this Wednesday to be my harvest date), including some unpeeled cloves from near the middle of a head, and the peeled cloves from the outside of the head. They have a good texture, and the aroma is great.

While I'll be posting the details for my extremely cheap DIY black garlic oven at a later date, my basic process is pretty simple. I keep the garlic in the oven for 30 days between 140°F and 150°F , adjusting the light bulb used as the outside temperature changes. At 30 days, I remove the lid for the jars the garlic is aged in, to allow for the final drying of the heads, which takes 10 days. My roommate has had the idea of using a higher wattage bulb (probably 60W) in combination with a lower wattage bulb (maybe 30W or 40W, depending on ambient temperature) for heating and maintaining, respectively. The two would be hooked up to a relay, controlled by a circuit with at least one thermocouple as its input.

I plan to chop and dry about four of the heads, after which I'll make black garlic powder. Another four will be soaked in some light soy sauce and blended up with some dark soy and fish sauce, to be used for cooking. The last four will be used as-is. I'll be making 24 heads in the next batch, instead of the 12 that I made in this batch, some of which I'll use in a tomato-based fermented sauce. I might further double up the capacity, since I think the cooler could be more densely packed and work well.


  1. hey, Nice blog post!
    I have tried this my self but in a smaller scale. I used 2 jars and a Crock pot which hold the temperature at 65 celsius.
    While the garlic was in the jars i came across an article about Botulism which is quite an evil bacteria grown in a oxygen free environment. Have you thought about botulism in this project?
    I became quite a sceptic when read about it and I'm not sure wether I'm going to use the garlic or not.

  2. Henrik, thanks for the compliment. With regard to this project, I understand the risk of botulism contamination to be very low. Since each jar only has one head of garlic in it, and since the remainder of the jar is filled with oxygen-rich air, there should be plenty of oxygen to prevent botulism spores from growing. Botulism, with respect to garlic, is usually more of a risk when in a specifically oxygen-deprived setting (like garlic packed in oil).