Make Garlic Powder by Dehydrating Garlic
Plus Other Great Ideas for Preserving Garlic
Reading Time: 5 minutes
There is no need to let garlic go to waste once it begins to show signs of aging. Learn how to make garlic powder by dehydrating garlic cloves. This method is extremely easy and an excellent way for preserving garlic.
Selecting the Best Garlic Variety
Garlic is a bulb which is planted in the fall and spring by gardeners worldwide. Aside from being a delicious ingredient for many dishes, it also holds strong medicinal qualities for both humans and animals.
Choosing the best variety to plant will depend on whether you plant to preserve or use it fresh. All varieties can be dried to make garlic powder, canned, and fermented. However, only one type of garlic stores best long-term.
There are two types of garlic that can be planted. With each type, there are a plethora of varieties to choose from. Select a variety that provides the flavor you seek, depending on whether it is intended to store long-term.
Hard-neck garlic (Allium ophioscorodon) varieties store best long-term. In addition to this, hard-neck varieties provide edible flowers known as garlic scapes. Garlic scape pesto is an excellent way to preserve and enjoy the scapes throughout the winter months.
Soft-neck garlic (Allium sativum) is incredible in flavor. Unfortunately, it does not store as long as the hard-neck variety.
Elephant garlic, in appearance, strongly resembles the garlic types mentioned above. However, elephant garlic belongs to the leek family (Allium ampeloprasum). The flavor is very similar to leeks, and when cured and stored properly, it can keep through the early parts of winter.
The Best Time to Plant Garlic
Planting garlic in the fall allows for a mid-summer harvest and the bulb to reach maturity. Fall planting allows the cloves to establish roots prior to cold winter months settling in. From spring to mid-summer, the bulbs will mature, providing bountiful harvest between July and August.
Depending on your location, garlic can be planted in the spring. There are minor hick-ups to planting garlic during this time. Spring garlic runs the risk of the bulb flowering when the weather warms, slowing the growth of the bulb. Hence, it will produce a smaller bulb. To maximize the size of the bulb, it is best to plant garlic in the fall.
For those new to growing garlic, take a minute to read up on how to plant garlic and when to harvest it. There truly is nothing better than homegrown garlic.
There are many methods available for preserving garlic. Over the years, I have preserved garlic using the following methods:
pickled and canned
canned in vinegar
fermented in honey
cured and stored fresh
dehydrated to make garlic powder
Whatever method chosen to preserve garlic, you will not be disappointed. Garlic preserves nicely regardless of the method. However, out of all the methods presented, cured fresh garlic and garlic powder are the most popular methods.
Utilize garlic powder for:
flavoring meat, fish, vegetables, soups, stews, bread, and eggs
marinades and dressings
home-canned goods and ferments
creating seasoning mixes
making seasoning salts
The most convenient way to use garlic powder is to substitute it where fresh garlic is required.
Dehydrating Garlic and Other Drying Methods
Any type of dehydrator will work for dehydrating garlic. Because of the long drying time, it is best to select a dehydrator with a rear-facing fan. This will prevent you from rotating trays to ensure the cloves are thoroughly dried.
In addition to dehydrating garlic, air-drying is another option. Choose a warm location out of direct sunlight with good airflow. Utilizing the air-drying method requires air to be able to circulate around the item being dried. Place the garlic onto a screened drying tray, making sure to not allow the garlic slices to touch each other. How long it will take to dry will depend on the humidity and temperature where the garlic is being dried.
Another way to dry garlic is in the oven using the lowest possible heat setting. Much like the other methods, evenly lay the garlic on a baking sheet, making sure to not stack the garlic on top of each other. The drying time is roughly 12 hours.
Steps to Dehydrating Garlic Cloves
The smell of garlic dehydrating is strong, and it will infiltrate your home. If you love the smell, awesome! If not, move the dehydrator to a well-ventilated location, such as the garage or porch.
One other tip: It is important to allow the garlic to dry slowly and at a low temperature to retain its flavor. Attempting to speed up the process will cause the garlic to become bitter in flavor. The garlic should exit the dehydrator similar in color as to when it was put in. Garlic slices that are brown in color tend to be bitter in flavor.
Using a mandolin or garlic slicer, slice the garlic evenly into uniform pieces. This allows the garlic to dry at the same rate.
Select the lowest heat setting for your dehydrator, between 125 to 135 degrees F.
Dehydrate the garlic for 12 hours, check the process often throughout the day. Depending on the humidity level and how thinly sliced the garlic is, the drying time will vary.
To keep dried garlic long-term, store it in a vacuum-sealed canning jar. Adding an oxygen absorber will help minimize the moisture within the jar.
If garlic slices were inconsistent, check the dehydrator often, remove and properly store finished pieces. Allow the thicker slices to continue drying until they have completely dried.
Regardless of the method — dehydrator, air-drying, or oven drying — garlic is completely dried when it is crispy and snaps when bent.
Dehydrated garlic slices rehydrate nicely when introduced to liquid, making them ideal to cook with.
How to Make Garlic Powder
Grind the dried garlic slices into powder using a spice or coffee grinder, mortar and pestle, or a blender.
For those seeking a fine powder, sift the ground garlic powder through a fine-mesh strainer. The larger garlic pieces can be ground once again or reserved for cooking.
As with storing garlic slices, store garlic powder long-term in a vacuum-sealed canning jar. Adding an oxygen absorber to the jar prior to sealing it helps to minimize the moisture within the jar.
Add a small amount of dried, uncooked rice to the container to absorb any moisture within the jar and to prevent the garlic powder from clumping. Make sure to remove the grains of rice prior to cooking.
Do you use other methods to make garlic powder? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.