Garlic is one of the oldest cultivated crops on the planet. In addition to its tremendous culinary value, garlic is also prized by many people and cultures for its medicinal properties. The good news is that garlic is incredibly easy to grow, and it’s simple and straightforward to learn how to dehydrate garlic.
Reasons to Dehydrate Garlic
Whether you buy garlic in bulk or grow it in your garden, you can dehydrate your excess cloves for future use. There’s no question that fresh garlic is delicious, but there are several reasons to consider dehydrating your harvest.
How Long Does Dehydrated Garlic Last?
When it’s stored properly, dehydrated garlic, whether it is minced or in powder form, retains its flavor for two to three years.
The key to enjoying your garlic harvest for longer lies in its storage conditions. If you want to maximize your dehydrated garlic’s shelf life, it should be stored in a dark, cool cupboard that’s away from sunlight or direct heat.
Storing your minced or dried garlic in containers with tight-fitting lids will help it to retain its flavor.
Use Your Garlic Harvest Longer
Dried garlic is shelf-stable and when it’s dehydrated, you can enjoy this flavorful food for much longer.
Since dehydrated garlic packs a flavor punch that’s nearly as powerful as fresh garlic, it’s an excellent substitute to have on hand when you don’t have fresh cloves.
The versatility of dehydrated garlic is legendary and the uses of this delicious pantry staple are nearly endless.
Make-Ahead Seasoning Mixes
One of the great things about dehydrated garlic is that you can add it to make-ahead seasoning mixes. For example, if you make homemade taco seasoning with herbs and spices from your pantry, you can’t use freshly chopped garlic cloves because it will cause your homemade mix to spoil. However, garlic powder is ideal for this use.
Dissolves in Liquid
Another benefit of dehydrated garlic is that it dissolves in liquid, making it ideal for salad dressings, marinades, and brines.
Delicious Flavor as a Condiment
One of my favorite ways to use dried minced garlic is on salad, popcorn, and pizza. The burst of flavor makes all the difference.
Seasoning Ground Meats
Dried garlic is perfect for seasoning meats, especially in quick-cooking ground meat recipes like hamburgers, meatballs, and sausage. Chunks of chopped fresh garlic won’t soften in ground meats, so it’s better to use garlic powder for these recipes.
Quick and Easy to Use
Even if there is an adult at home to prepare meals, there are times when we have to rush to pull a meal together.
Peeling and chopping garlic takes time, but garlic powder is an excellent way to add plentiful flavor to most dishes. Moreover, garlic powder’s flavor is more concentrated than the flavor of fresh garlic.
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Ways to Dehydrate Garlic – How Do You Dehydrate Garlic?
There are several ways to dry garlic. I’ve personally used all of these methods for drying garlic and other foods, so I know they’re safe and easy to do.
1. Use a Food Dehydrator
Most dedicated home food preservers have a food dehydrator in their arsenal, and these powerful small appliances are an invaluable tool to have for dehydrating garlic and other foods.
A food dehydrator pushes a steady stream of warm air through drying screens. You can buy a compact stackable food dehydrator for small batches of food like garlic. If you want to do large-scale food dehydrating, you may want to invest in a larger model.
If you don’t have a food dehydrator, don’t worry. There are a few other ways you can dry your garlic.
Want to grab a food dehydrator? Check them out on Amazon:
2. Dehydrate Garlic in Your Oven
To dry garlic cloves in your oven, set your oven at the lowest heat settings, which is 150-200˚F (67-93˚C) for most ovens.
Spread your sliced cloves on a baking sheet and dry for 1-2 hours. Your garlic is ready to remove from the oven when a slice snaps when you break it.
3. Air Dry Your Garlic
One of the traditional ways of dehydrating garlic is to string it up for air drying. To do this, pass a threading needle through your uniformly sliced garlic, making sure you leave spaces in between the slices so that they are able to dry evenly.
Alternatively, you can slice your garlic and layer the slices on drying screens. Place the screens in a warm room and allow your garlic to slowly dry.
Tips for Dehydrating Garlic
Dehydrating garlic is pretty straightforward, but there are some things that you can do to make sure that your garlic is actually usable and has a good flavor when you’re finished.
Here are some of my best tips for dehydrating garlic:
1. Slice Your Garlic Evenly
When slicing your garlic cloves, be sure you’re slicing them in uniform pieces to ensure that they all dry evenly.
If you do slice your cloves with varying thicknesses, keep an eye on the food dehydrator while your garlic is drying. Then, simply remove the pieces as they finish drying. Remove the thinner slices as they dry, leaving the thicker slices to finish dehydrating.
2. Dry Your Garlic Slowly at Low Heat
If you’re dehydrating garlic in your oven, you need to ensure that the oven maintains a low temperature. A food dehydrator is easier to work with because these small appliances are designed for drying food slowly, keeping the heat minimal. This reduces the risk that you’ll burn your garlic.
I don’t know if you’ve ever burned garlic or not, but it has a horrible flavor.
Note that if your garlic becomes brown during the drying process, it will have a bitter taste. Resist the temptation to turn the heat up to speed up the drying process. Drying gently and evenly is key to retaining garlic’s aroma and flavor.
3. Keep It Slow and Steady
Using a food dehydrator, it will take between 12 and 48 hours to dry your garlic, depending on your drying method and the humidity in the air. The more humid the air is, the longer it will take the garlic to dry out. Also, the thickness of your garlic slices will play a role in drying time.
If you need to turn your dehydrator off at night, that’s OK. Just turn it back on when you get up in the morning. Your garlic is completely dehydrated when you bend a slice and it snaps.
4. How to Prevent Clumping
One problem with home-dried garlic is that it can clump together in the container. To prevent this from happening, add about a teaspoon of uncooked rice to your container. The rice will help to absorb any excess moisture.
Be sure to remove or sift out the rice before you use your garlic powder. Alternatively, you can leave it in the container if you’re only using your garlic powder in a shaker.
Can You Dehydrate the Whole Garlic?
To understand the process of drying garlic, I need to explain the science behind garlic chemistry. Much of garlic’s flavor comes from allicin, a compound that forms whenever garlic is sliced, cut, or crushed.
Garlic uses allicin as a defense mechanism of sorts, allowing garlic to protect itself from fungi and insects. The more “injured” your garlic is the more allicin forms, and the tastier your garlic.
Technically, you can try to dehydrate a whole bunch of garlic, but it will dry unevenly and not be as flavorful. If you’d like to braid your whole garlic and allow it to dry, check out this YouTube video:
How to Make Homemade Garlic Powder
One of my kitchen staples is garlic powder. I use it in so many dishes that it would be crazy for me to not make it at home.
Making homemade garlic powder is simple and requires minimal kitchen equipment. Follow the steps below to make your own garlic powder:
Remove the garlic cloves from the head, then peel off the skins. Slice the cloves as thin as possible.
Lay out your garlic slices on your dehydrator screens.
Following the instructions on your dehydrator, allow the garlic to dry at a low temperature for about 12-48 hours.
Your garlic is ready to be ground or minced when a slice snaps when you bend it.
To grind your dried garlic, use any of the following kitchen tools.
- Mortar and pestle
- Spice grinder
- A coffee grinder that’s reserved for grinding spices
- High-quality blender
- Food processor
After grinding your garlic, sift the powder through a strainer so that you can remove any larger pieces. These pieces are great to store separately for flavoring soups, stews, or roasts.
Store your homemade garlic powder in a glass container in a cool, dark location. Make sure your containers have airtight lids.
How to Make Garlic Salt
To make garlic salt, follow the exact same instructions for making garlic powder. Then, mix 1-3 parts salt with one part garlic powder. Store your homemade garlic salt exactly as you would your garlic powder.
I recommend labeling your jars carefully (with dates) so that you don’t confuse your garlic powder and garlic salt.
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