Monday, January 27, 2014

How to Make Your Own Garlic Powder

I have a guilty confession to make: I really like garlic powder. This is guilty, because I have all this fresh stuff that I grew myself hanging around (literally, as decor on my walls), and yet I still insist on using the powder. I do use fresh periodically (mostly out of guilt), but the powder just can't be beat. In ranch dressing, for example, it's highly preferable not to have chunks in the mix. And there's no debating that it's always just easier to reach for the powder.

The solution for this is obvious: make garlic powder of the garlic I grow. Duh. But naturally this didn't cross my mind until January after a summer harvest.  But you know what? That's actually a good thing.  See, soft neck garlic doesn't store as long as hard neck garlic does. I grew about half and half of each, so this month I was looking at a garlic braid that was only half used up, and realizing that some of the cloves on there were starting to shrivel. Well that's a waste...

So I got ambitious, and decided to use the rest of the soft neck garlic to experiment with homemade garlic powder.  It's really not super hard. In fact, it's not hard at all. Here's what I started with (well, half of this, actually):

Step one: break up all your garlic heads into cloves.

Step two: buy one of these handy garlic peeling gadgets and save yourself a headache. Peel garlic cloves. The wrappers can go in the compost.

Step three: run those suckers through a food processor or whatever kind of chopper you might own. If you want to mince them the old fashioned way (I wouldn't recommend it for this many cloves), try this rocking mincer that's much easier to clean out than most mincers.

Step four: spread them out in a single (ish) layer on your finest dehydrating sheets. You might also prefer to try your luck with wax paper. I scraped these off about midway through and re-distributed them; they get a little sticky. Dehydrate at 120* for 6-8 hours. (I use and love this dehydrator; the rectangular shape is so nice for storage!)

Step five: pull out your chopper again. (I have this mini processor and it's lovely; only two parts and easy to get out.) Run it until you're swimming in powder! I did find that a bigger batch had better luck completely pulverizing everything; a small batch left me with tiny pieces throughout. You could also try a dry pitcher blender like this if you have one. I know Vitamix carries one for grain grinding and such, although I've never tried it. Has anyone else? I'd love to hear about it. I was almost tempted to run this through my grain mill, but thought I might end up regretting it. I will definitely see about borrowing a dry blade pitcher next time around and seeing if it works more easily. I had to run the chopper for a good little while to get all the pieces to break down.

And here's your finished product! It's very pungent smelling! I'll have to try it with less than recipes call for to start with, because I'm not sure how it will compare in flavor strength.


  1. I have the VitaMix dry blender thingie. I've only used it for coffee so far, but not terribly impressed. It does seem like more quantity does a better job, though. You're welcome to borrow it next time. Or, here's an idea -- take your dehydrated garlic to the grocery store and run it through their coffee grinder. Just go to a store you don't normally patronize so you won't have to worry about going back.

    1. For shame, Mom. :-)

      I would like to borrow your dry Vitamix next time I have something sketchy to experiment with though. ;-D

  2. I've never even considered doing this! It would be a good way to save the garlic that's beginning to sprout, too. Thanks for the idea!