How to Dry Garlic to Make Homemade Garlic Powder
Dry Your Garlic and the Possibilties are Endless!
Anyone who grows and uses fresh herbs and vegetables knows that homemade Garlic Powder just HAS to be better than store-bought. I began my exploration of how to use garlic after getting a great deal on a bag of garlic from Costco. If you're interested in "all things garlic", be sure to check out my Fabulous Garlic Mojo Recipe.
Since I grow my own herbs, I decided to make dry Herb Spices as Christmas gifts this year. I needed dried garlic to add to my Italian Seasoning Spice (soon to be added to my Cooking Green Repertoire). Thus, after much research and trial and error attempts, I am sharing my recipe for How to Make Homemade Garlic Powder.
Keep in mind that you can use this great Dried Garlic in a myriad of recipes so be sure that you save some from the spice mill! If your recipe has a lot of liquid in it, your garlic will rehydrate and add intense flavor during the cooking process. Or, you can soak it in enough warm water (or try other liquids depending on how you want to use it) to cover for about 15 minutes. Your garlic will re-hydrate and taste as good as fresh in most recipes.
Dividing Garlic Heads into Cloves
As explained in my How to Make Spicty Garlic Mojo recipe, garlic comes in heads which are made up of individual cloves. Using your palm, smoosh the garlic head to separate the cloves. Carefully look at them and discard any cloves that are already dry.
Peeling and Slicing Garlic
Preparing by Hand
I think the hardest part to any Garlic Recipe is taking the papery skin off of the garlic cloves. I've found it helpful to slice a tiny piece off each end of the clove, being sure to "pull" the skin off as you slice. Once each end is removed, gently rub the clove between your fingers/hands and the skin loosens enough to pull it off.
I've also tried soaking garlic bulbs in warm water for 10-15 minutes and then removing paper. This was a bit easier, but really messy. I did find it helpful when making larger batches. I just sat on a big blanket in my living room, had my drained garlic bulbs, a knife and cutting board, a bowl to put scraps and a bowl to hold my peeled garlic cloves and a towel -- and watched my favorite cooking shows!
ADDITION TO RECIPE!!
I discovered this wonderful Garlic Peeler called 1st Deal E-Zee Garlic Peeler Garlic Peeler. It's a plastic tube that you put the garlic in and then roll lightly on your counter. Pour the garlic cloves out and they're peeled! Boy do I wish I'd come up with that helpful kitchen gadget!
I save the cut ends and skin and use them when making a Quick Garlic Oil and a Garlic Vegetable Stock (both coming soon) for my favorite recipes.
Peeling and Slicing Garlic
Using Food Processor
You can use your food processor to slice or chop the garlic. Once you have your garlic cloves peeled, you are ready to chop or slice them using your food processor. Be sure to insert the correct blade in your processor, load up your garlic cloves and away you go! I usually don't chop my garlic as I prefer larger garlic pieces. Note that you need to take care when drying chopped garlic using the oven method as they tend to burn quite easity.
I still prefer to slice my garlic by hand. Not only do I love the lingering smell of garlic, it allows me to control how thin my slices are... I think of Jacques Pepin each time I slice Garlic. He never ceases to amaze me when I watch him quickly, accurately and SAFEly slice garlic.
Process: Drying Garlic
There are many, many recipes for drying Garlic on the Internet, and no two use the same oven temperature! SO, this recipe is based on the lowest setting that my oven will allow - 170 Degrees.
Once you've sliced all of your garlic as thinly as possible (the thinner the slices, the quicker they dry), place them on a non-stick pan. I prefer a pizza pan with holes which allows the air to circulate around the garlic, thus speeding up the drying process. As the time varies due to the thickness of the sliced Garlic, the temperature inside and outside of the house and moisture in the air, I set my timer for 30 minutes intervals. After each buzzer sounds, I check the garlic. You want it to be dry, brown but NOT burnt. It is done when it easily breaks apart in your fingers.
NOTE: Mine usually take 1 1/2 hours set at 170 degrees when I slice them by hand, but takes 4+ hours when I've sliced them using the food processor.
Once it is done, set it on the counter to cool.
I've tried drying garlic three ways: air-drying (takes way too long which is why I decided not to mention this one), oven-drying and using a dehydrator. Of the three, I prefer the results using a Dehydrator. The garlic chips take much less of MY time (don't have to watch them to make sure they aren't burning) and they come out creamy white.
Once you've prepared your garlic for drying, either doing your chopping and slicing by hand or using the food processor, spread your garlic in thin layers on your dehydrator trays. Because some of your garlic will be small, AND all garlic will shrink some when dry, be sure to use a tray liner. One plastic liner came with my NESCO Dehydrator. I used parchment paper and made additional tray liners. Set your temperature to 115 degrees and let it go.
I've only tried using the dehydrator with garlic that I've sliced with the food processor (which are thicker slices than when I do it by hand). The garlic dried in about 6 hours. At that point, I removed dried pieces and continued drying any pieces that were "bendable" for another hour or so.
Beautiful Dried Garlic!
Slices, Dices or Flakes
Storing your Garlic Chips and Flakes
Use an Air-tight Container
At this point, you need to store your Dried Garlic in sterile, airtight containers. You can use zipper storage bags or glass jars.
The garlic can be ground now or at the time that you want to use it for extra freshness. Dried Garlic can also be rehydrated with a bit of water or other liquid. If you are interested in Garlic Powder, then read on.
Grinding your Garlic to Make Homemade Garlic Powder
Heaven on Earth!
You can use your food processor or blender to grind your Dried Garlic, but since I make mine in small batches at a time, I use a coffee grinder. Just be sure that you do NOT use the same coffee grinder that you use to make your morning coffee or you'll alienate everyone you meet! I bought a second Krups grinder at a yard sale and love having it! I use it to grind my dried herbs, garlic and vegetables.
You control how fine a ground that you want. Some people like it really fine, while others (me included) like it somewhat course. That's all there is to it, and you have wonderful, FRESH Garlic Powder! Store it in a sterlie, airtight container and it will keep in a dark, dry cupboard for a year or more (mine never lasts that long!). OR, add it to your Favorite Dried Spice Mix like I do -- soon to come, my Fabulous Italian Seasoning Mix.
You can also make Garlic Salt by adding salt when you grind your Dried Garlic. I prefer using Kosher Salt. The ratio I use is 3:1, meaning 3 parts Dried Garlic to 1 part Salt.