How Do You Use Trader Joe's Black Garlic Seasoning?

Every aisle of Trader Joe's seems to be lined with treasures. Whether it's seasonal treats or just the everyday snacks and frozen entrees that have made the chain grocer so popular, there's apparently no end to the delicious options.

If that wasn't enough, they have tons of must-buy seasonings as well. With these great spice blends, you can amp up any basic recipe or ingredient with just a sprinkle. Trader Joe's Everything but the Bagel seasoning has developed a cult-like following since it was first released — there are over 87,000 posts associated with the hashtag #everythingbutthebagel on Instagram — for that reason precisely. For just $1.99 you can spice up anything you want with a hit of savory seasonings. Yahoo! also notes that the spice mixture took home top honors a few years ago in the company's Customer Choice Awards.

Mashed says that in 2021, Trader Joe's released another seasoning that seems destined to have developed its own following. Its fermented black garlic seasoning seems to capture the same savory, umami-heavy notes of the Everything but the Bagel seasoning, but with its own unique flavor.

What is black garlic?

In case you're unfamiliar, Black garlic is an incredibly unique ingredient. SBS reports that black garlic was likely invented in Korea, though it has been used in Asian cuisines for centuries. Black garlic is not a variant of the garlic bulbs you find in the grocery store. Instead, fresh garlic is cooked at a specific temperature and humidity for several weeks. When it comes out of the cooking vessel, its cloves are black as night and have a unique roasted flavor.

SBS claims that the reason for this is the Maillard reaction. This is the chemical reaction that gives seared steaks, caramelized onions, and crispy breads their delicious flavor. In the case of black garlic, Garlic & Zest claims that caramelizing garlic takes off the sharpness of the pungent vegetable, and gives it a tangy, umami-rich flavor akin to soy sauce instead.

According to Garlic and Zest, if this delicious flavor isn't enough reason to try out black garlic then its potential nutritional benefits will win you over. It's thought to be loaded with antioxidants and has apparently been linked to moderating blood sugar and cholesterol levels as well (per Healthline). The prospect of having this time-intensive ingredient sitting in your cabinet at all times makes the black garlic seasoning another win for Trader Joe's.

Using black garlic seasoning

Trader Joe's black garlic seasoning is made by grinding the aromatic veggie down into a powder form, so it's easy to add as much as you like to practically anything. The savory notes make it an obvious choice for roasted dishes like "burnt" Brussels sprouts, but there's no reason to stop there. PopSugar says that this seasoning can easily be added to anything that you would normally add garlic to, but it also fares well in sandwiches and dips as well.

SBS reports that John Pye of Bredbo Black Garlic says the ingredient can also be compared to black truffle. He recommends it with Asian-inspired dishes, noodle-based entrees, and soups. Really, though, there's no limit to the use of this seasoning besides your own creativity. SBS even recommends caramelizing strawberries in a pan with some black garlic and using it as a complex topping for a chocolate dessert. Black garlic has a unique flavor that can add a caramelized, savory complexity to almost anything, making Trader Joe's black garlic seasoning a versatile pantry performer.