Uiseong Black Garlic Farming Association, Pioneering Overseas Markets since 2009
In this modern age, leading a healthy life is one of people’s biggest concerns. Working out on a regular basis can be the best way to lead a healthier live, but it is hard to make time to work out during hectic days. So, consuming healthy food is the next best plan. As much as possible, modern people try to consume traditional healthy foods such as olive oil and tomatoes as well as newly emerged foods such as blueberries and broccoli.
<Time>, a weekly magazine in the US, selected the top ten superfoods of the world in 2002. The word “superfood” was first used in the book SuperFoods Rx by Dr. Steven G. Pratt, a renowned expert in the field of human aging. Superfoods contain low sugar and salt contents while being rich in nutrients. They are also able to heighten the immune system and slow down the aging process.
Garlic, one of Time’s top ten world superfoods, was classified into the Designer Foods category. Designer foods are foods fortified with health promoting ingredients that serve various purposes. Garlic gained attention as a new designer food because it is good to eat by itself and as an addition to various dishes.
Cancer Suppressing Garlic Classified as Top-Notch Healthy Food
Garlic takes the top spot in a pyramid formed by arranging 40 cancer suppressing foods that have been discovered up to the present. It is believed to have cancer suppressing effects in addition to other effects that promote the production of hormones, improve blood circulation, prevent colds, strengthen the liver function, and ease hangovers. Due to such beneficial effects, garlic comes in first on the list of cancer suppressing foods recommended by the United States National Cancer Institute. It is also known to have anti-bacterial effects, especially when consuming animal fat.
Unfortunately, garlic gives out a unique smell when its cells are destroyed and a substance called allicin is created by enzymes. Although allicin is good for blood circulation and has anti-bacterial effects, the smell can be somewhat repellent to people. The smell cannot be completely eliminated by brushing the teeth because approximately 30 percent of bodily wastes are discharged through the skin. That’s why black garlic was developed in Korea. Black garlic is made by ripening whole bulbs of garlic in a high, constant temperature oven for a certain period of time. This uses the garlic’s own substances and enzymes to change its color to black. During the ripening process, monosaccharides are involved in a browning reaction. This increases the fructose content by a factor of approximately 1.7. In addition, the pungent taste of garlic is gone and the process increases the stickiness. Thus, black garlic becomes a good ingredient that is used to make various processed products. Such brilliant black bulbs are produced by many Korean food companies, among which Uiseong Black Garlic Farming Association produces a representative black garlic brand.
Black Garlic Ripened at Consistent Temperature and Humidity
Established in 2007, Uiseong Black Garlic Farming Association (UBGF) is located in Uiseong County in North Gyeongsang Province―a chief area for garlic production. The county produces a large amount of garlic and the farming association can thus receive a stable supply of garlic. Uniquely in Korean inland areas, the county has soil formed with volcanic dust rich in germanous substances.
The farming association only uses raw garlic cultivated in Uiseong County and produces black garlic by fermenting and ripening the raw garlic for 45 days at a constant temperature and humidity. While the raw garlic is fermented and ripened for 45 days, the sugars and amino acids of the garlic are converted into the black-colored melanoidin. Then the garlic becomes black. Meanwhile, S-allyl cysteine, a water-soluble sulfur compound, is created. This compound increases five to six-fold from the original garlic. It was proven to be effective in improving hyperlipidemia in animal tests conducted by the college of life sciences and biotechnology at Korea University.
Mr. Won Yong-duk, CEO of Uiseong Black Garlic Farming Association, introduced garlic as a functional, healthy food that has been believed to be beneficial in 99 out of 100 aspects from olden times. He said that the allicin of garlic has more potent anti-bacterial effects than penicillin. This is why the farming association developed black garlic: so that everyone can more easily enjoy the wholesome vegetable.
Easy-to-Eat Black Garlic without Pungent Smell and Taste
The farming association produces a variety of black garlic products. The simplest form of the black garlic product is whole black garlic, which is provided in a chewy jelly condition. This condition is enriched with both sour and sweet tastes in the process of the fermentation and ripening. The simplest black garlic can be enjoyed by all. The most widely known black garlic product is black garlic concentrate. In addition to black garlic, it is made with jujube, oligosaccharide, and hovenia dulcis fruit. The concentrate sells in a pouch pack so many more people can easily enjoy it. Also supplied are black garlic pellets that can be enjoyed everywhere, even, for example, in a car or an office.
Thanks to efforts made to improve the safety and reliability of the products, in 2008 the farming association obtained the ISO 9001:2000 certificate for the quality management system from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). It also completed registering its facilities and processes with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In 2013, it was designated a company applying Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP), which is a scientific system for hygiene management.
Black garlic is gaining popularity as a healthy food in both domestic and overseas markets because it contains its original active substances, which remain intact even after the fermentation and ripening process. The farming association started participating in exhibitions to pioneer overseas markets in 2009 and such efforts were rewarded last year with the conclusion of export contracts in China, Vietnam, and India.
Mr. Won said that black garlic has been receiving huge attention after winning a silver medal and a gold prize at international invention contests held in Germany and Switzer- land (Geneva), respectively. Accor- ding to him, the farming association will focus on developing products customized for local people as a brand awareness of black garlic as a healthy food increases in Southeast Asian countries.
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