You can make your own organic, freshly ground garlic powder without a dehydrator, but I promise you, it is a lot easier WITH one. Yes, we gave one away on October 22, 2014 and I am sorry you missed that giveaway. We hope to do it again soon, but for now, let assume you either have a dehydrator or are planning to get one soon. In that case, let’s talk about Making Garlic Powder.
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Making Garlic Powder
Hopefully, you are making garlic powder using fresh, organic garlic that you either grew yourself or got from a trusted source. But you can use store-bought, too. That is fine. Eddie & I prefer our garlic fresh (chopped or minced) but if it is the dead of winter and our supply of quality, fresh garlic has run out, we are happy to use the garlic powder that we made from our own organic garlic crop the summer before. That crop, spread out to cure in July, looks a lot like this (but this is only about a third of the harvest):
So, let’s say you have whole mess-a-garlic (like in the photo above) and you just know you can’t use it all before it sprouts and spoils. Let’s also say that while you LOVE fresh garlic, garlic powder will do in a pinch, especially if you made it fresh yourself. Let’s also say that you either have or will soon have your very own dehydrator. We recommend the Excalibur which you can buy right here. And lucky for you, Amazon has them on sale (for now) — you can SAVE $108.50 off the retail price and who knows how long that will last!
NOW … let’s say ALL that is in place. It is time for Making Garlic Powder!
I will give you my steps recipe-style, so you can print it easily. THEN, I will follow that with my usual photo montage so you can visualize it. I promise — this is SO easy! However, please note that my way is not the only way! I recently learned from the experts over at Dehydrate2store (authors of The Ultimate Dehydrator Cookbook) that there is a good reason for roasting your garlic before dehydrating it IF you intend to make a powder. September Ferguson told me, “The reason why we recommend cooking vegetables until tender and pureed before dehydrating and powdering is because cooking it first will allow you to blend it into a finer powder, a lot like the kind you would buy in the store. However, it is possible for you to do it raw, but it will just give you a coarser powder and will take slightly longer to rehydrate.”
That said, I will try roasting & smushing (<== what? that is not word?) garlic before dehydrating and if it is not that much more trouble and the end result is indeed a better quality powder, then I will let you know back here on this post. For now, I dehydrate my garlic raw and September says there is nothing wrong with that — if you don’t mind a coarser powder that takes a little longer to rehydrate. I don’t mind because most of my winter meals are in the crock pot all day long. Well, that and I have this AWESOME new spice mill that seems to do the trick just fine! I think that quality kitchen equipment can make a LOT of difference in the quality of the final product. When I personally recommend a product on my blog, I can promise you that I have tried it myself and I am impressed.
UPDATE: I recently experimented with blanching garlic as a means to remove the skins and let me tell you! It is SO much easier than skinning unblanched garlic. I will soon update the rest of the content (below) but for now, just do this:
- Put on a pot of water to boil.
- Fill a bowl or sink with cold water and add several cups of ice to chill the water.
- Once the pot is boiling, drop your garlic in the boiling water for ONE MINUTE. No longer.
- Drain the garlic from the boiling water and quickly place it in the icy cold water for a minute or two until completely cool.
- Drain. The skins will slip right off!
I used this method to skin about 50 cloves and did in about five minutes. It works like a charm and does not cook the garlic. So do this and ignore what I say below about skinning the garlic the hard way.
- A whole mess-a-garlic!
- Break the cloves apart and discard as much of the skin as you can and the stems and root caps off the bottoms.
- Trim and peel the cloves. Do not use the trick of putting the cloves in between two metal mixing bowls and shaking the dickens out of it. That just bruises the heck out of your garlic and rarely works as well as it does in the youtube video. (I have tried it ... it works only marginally.)
- Carefully inspect and trim away any bruises and the root ends of the cloves.
- Run all the cloves through a food processor, blender, or spice mill until you have a spreadable paste.
- Spread parchment paper, baking paper or dehydrator sheets on your trays.
- Spread the garlic paste thinly on the paper.
- Pop it in the dehydrator and set the temperature to 125F (or so) and give it 6 hours.
- Check at 6 hours and make sure it feels completely dry & brittle enough to break into small chips in your hands. If not, put it back in until it is dry & brittle. It may turn a little golden brown and that is okay. Won't hurt a thing.
- When it is done, remove it from the paper and crumble it in your hands.
- Put it back in the food processor or spice mill (which should now be clean & DRY!) and grind it until you have a nice powder.
- Package it. (More details on packaging below.)
And now for our usual photo montage so you can visualize the steps!
Now, I have a BONUS tip for you here . . . if you have ever made your own garlic or onion powders before, you may know that — in time — they cake up (because UNLIKE the powders you buy in the store, there are no chemicals in it to prevent caking). This is okay. Won’t hurt a thing. Just regrind it and keep using it. BUT … here is what I do to prevent it in the first place without chemicals! Use uncooked rice. Yep, just like they used to do with salt before they started adding anti-caking agents to salt (don’t get me started!). If using a shaker, you can put the rice right in there with the powder. But let’s say you are not using a shaker. You are storing it in a mason jar so you can vacuum seal it (<== see this link for details on packaging your garlic powder). Here is how you do it. Take on old produce sleeve made of a fine plastic netting (like what garlic is often packaged in) or an old pair of panty hose (anything that breaths but that has a fine enough mesh to keep the rice in) and make a rice packet. How? These photos should make it obvious. All you need is the netting sleeve or panty hose, a couple twist ties, and a small spoonful of rice. In this case, I needed only one twist tie because my sleeve was already sealed on one end. Check it out.
As I mentioned before, check out How to Use Canning Jars for Dry Storage for detailed instructions on how to store your garlic powder … OR get a copy of the Ultimate Dehydrator Cookbook. It is in there, too!
CONGRATULATIONS, MICHELLE L! Enjoy your new Excalibur Dehydrator!