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Saturday, May 9, 2015

Fermented black garlic





Article taken from ABC Rural 9 April 2015

While rain in southern New South Wales has delayed planting of this year's crop, it has not stopped one farmer near Bredbo, just south of Canberra, working hard on his previous harvest.
It may look like a jellybean, but black garlic is fermenting the minds of chefs and consumers.
John Pye once ran a health food shop in the nation's capital and previous generations of his family operated pharmacies.
So it is not surprising that he is value-adding to his crop by applying science to his biodynamic-grown bulbs.
He is one of the few in Australia who, through fermentation, turn the bulb into black garlic, which resembles a "black jellybean" after a process that goes for around 40 days.
The determination to value-add to his garlic came while reading an in-flight magazine while on a plane with his wife.
The article described the processed garlic as the "new black" which spurred Mr Pye.

John Pye

He is extremely protective of just how it is achieved.
"It took me a long time to perfect because the parameters are so exact," he said.
"Self-fermentation is quite complicated.
"The controlled conditions are the key to success.
"It is a self fermenting process; nothing at all is added to make that happen, it just happens in the enclosed environment that exists."
That "enclosed environment" is a shed housing a series of, what could be mistaken for industrial refrigerators, a temperature gauge at the top of each door, which has plywood screwed on.
After the garlic is harvested, its foliage is still attached.
It is then left to "cure" for at least a month and then the dried foliage is cut off.
This is the garlic that consumers are used to finding in shops.
The black garlic that Mr Pye is aiming for is extremely popular in South Korea where it first gained prominence, and is also popular in other parts of Asia such as Japan.
For shoppers at the Canberra farmers' markets, curiosity plays a major part in trying it.
"I hadn't heard of it before," said Wagga dentist Thomas Schumack who was visiting.
"It is a whole lot sweeter than I was expecting. It's beautiful,"
Although he was unsure of exactly how he would use it.
His friend Casey Hobill had also bought some after tasting.
"It was quite a peculiar taste," he said.
"I do like it. It is quite sweet but also sour."
Mr Hobill had even been inspired to buy a cookbook to help with ideas.
For Mr Pye, he likes eating it with cracker biscuits and a slab of cheese or tossing it through a salad.
If it grows in popularity, he is hoping that the weather conditions improve and planting of this year's crop gets underway.