Updated: Feb 11, 2021
It started with a cartoon. I use to be obsessed with Bob's Burgers. I was in the thick of writing my dissertation for my animal science PhD and I was desperate for anything that was happy and light. Step aside Game of Thrones, no thanks CSI:Miami, bye bye Handmaid's Tale. I want to binge watch Bob, Linda, Tina, Gene and Louise run a hamburger restaurant and all their zany, loving antics. Season 5, episode 5 had Bob entering the first annual Best Burger competition at Wonder Wharf. His entry...the Bet It All On Black Garlic Burger which used an expensive, specialty ingredient known as Korean Black Garlic.
My brain exploded. I needed to eat that now! Did I mention that I am also obsessed with cheeseburgers? I once went 72 hours and the only calories I consumed were in burger form! For the first trimester of my first pregnancy the only thing I could eat without gagging was strawberry, unfrosted pop-tarts...and HAMBURGERS. I may even have a cheeseburger tattoo, okay I definitely have a cheeseburger tattoo. Photographic evidence below.
I had to order it from California...it was expensive and unfortunately, I ate it like candy in one sitting. After my third order, I realized I had a problem - I was spending an embarrassing amount of money of black garlic a week. So I thought to myself, 'Self, you're good at making things, why don't you use all your fancy degrees to figure out how to make this yourself?' I did what any good scientist does, I went into the peer-reviewed literature and read every single article on black garlic that I could find. Not only did I learn optimal manufacturing conditions, I learned that black garlic is a superfood, actually more like a super-DUPER-food. Seriously, it one of the only things on the planet that tastes as good as it is healthy for you. Sorry quinoa and kale, you can get stuffed.
My first batches were done on used laboratory equipment, not as shady as it sounds. Pretty soon I was giving it away to friends and family who all feel in love with these little umami bombs. My first big-girl costumer was Farm Patch here in Bryan, Texas. I will forever be in their debt for taking a chance on my janky-ass looking black garlic. From there is was just a slippery slop to full scale commercialization and optimized manufacturing.
I've been making black garlic for three years now and I thought I would end up like one of those ice cream tasters that spit out the ice cream or like someone who works at a donut shop who now can't donut. But I can honestly say I still enjoy eating black garlic nearly everyday for work and using it every night for cooking dinner. It's just that good!