Today’s adventure – making homemade garlic powder.
This is a first attempt. I’m not entirely convinced that it’s a winner yet, I have to wait for the taste test to really be sure. The instructions:
Obtain cloves of fresh garlic. I picked up two “sleeves” of it at Walmart for 88 cents apiece. Traditionally I’d prefer to pick it up from somewhere local (i.e. farmer’s market) and I’m actually growing some in my garden this year which would be even better – but for now, it’s where I was and it was convenient.
Peel garlic and slice as thinly as you can. This was something I was not looking forward to – I hate peeling fresh garlic. After peeling two whole sacks of it I feel like I’ve found some useful tricks. The best thing to do it break the whole head of garlic into the individual cloves, and then sort of roll, bend, and pinch each clove between your fingers to actually crack the outside shell. I always used to try and slice off one end or the other and peel it from there, but the cracking thing worked quite well. Small cloves are really easy because they’re a little less solid and more flexible (so you can twist and crack the shell very easily). Big cloves are tough because they’re so dense and you can’t really bend them. I did notice during my last trip to the local kitchenware store (Reading China and Glass) that they sell garlic peelers – a little silicone tube that you stick the clove into and roll around until the shell comes off. I can’t vouch for it being any better than my method but it’s an option!
Dry the garlic. I read a lot of variations on how people do this. I went with the “low-heat oven” option. Basically I spread the garlic on foil-lined cookie trays and put them in my oven at 175 degrees (the lowest it will go). I stirred the garlic every 30 minutes and cooked for two hours total (until the garlic seemed dry and crumbly). Let me just say that I do not think I’ll do this again – if you weren’t already nauseated from the smell of slicing all that garlic (which I was!), the smell of it baking will push you right over the edge. I opened doors and windows, set fans to vent the smell out, lit incense….you name it! It is pungent to say the least. The more popular method that I found online was to use a food dehydrator. If this is something you intend to do often then I think I would recommend that path. If nothing else, at least you could plug it in somewhere outside of the house (i.e. garage) so that you won’t be trapped with the smell!
Grind the dried garlic. Once the garlic is dry, grind into a powder. Again, different methods recommended online. Being a hands-on kinda girl, I was excited to try out my new mortar and pestle (found a gorgeous one at Marshall’s for $10!). Nothing’s ever as easy as you think – but I ended up with a pretty good method. I placed a handful of the dried garlic into the bowl. As I was grinding it, I came across some pieces that were not quite as dry as the rest. I pulled those out and put them on my herb-drying screen to sit for a little longer. This left me with a powder of mixed dimensions. I used a very small strainer, which allowed me to sift the finer powder out to keep, and put the bigger granules aside for a second round through the mortar and pestle. Some other suggestions for this last step included using a coffee grinder (which would probably be a lot easier), or some sort of food processor that chops things very finely.
Opinion: It will all come down to a taste test, but unless this is miracle garlic powder, I don’t know that it’s worth the effort. I can get a tub of garlic powder at the farmer’s market spice stand for less than $1 and it tastes pretty good. Making it was also cheap, but it took a good hour to peel and slice the garlic, two hours to dry it, and another 30 minutes for the grinding (not to mention the stinky house trauma!). I will add to this post after I sample it to share how it tasted.
The homemade garlic definitely is stronger than regular store-bought garlic powder. Whether it’s worth the effort – I’m still not sure. Probably will depend on how bored I am by the next time I need some 🙂