Making your own garlic powder

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I like to use garlic powder for making my own BBQ rubs and in cooking where I am too lazy to cut up some fresh garlic.  Whenever I go to buy garlic powder at the grocery store I normally end up convincing myself to get 11 ounces of garlic salt at $3.99 versus the $7.49 for a 9 ounce container of garlic powder.  Though this not what I really wanted, the cheapness in me always wins.  Given I picked up a fancy food dehydrator recently, this year I have opted to make my own.

When creating my garlic braid I found many imperfect bulbs as well as some small bulbs which I set aside to be the victims into making garlic powder.

Step #1: Peel the and clean the cloves

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The title pretty much sums it up but you need to get the cloves and peel off the outer layer of all the cloves.  I normally following this up with a quick rinse to help get rid of the various loose pieces and make them a little less sticky (and smelly)

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Step #2 Slice the garlic

The size is not that important, though the general idea is all of the slices should be about the same general size.  This way they all should complete drying at the same time.  Obviously the smaller you slice the quicker they will dry which may not be a good thing which I will explain later.

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Step #3 Dry the garlic

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Place the garlic in your food dehydrator with no pieces touching at 125-130F (or as close as yours can get) and if you sliced thin they could be ready in about 12 hours or if they were huge hunks like mine more like 3-4 days.  The easy way to tell if they are done is by picking the largest clove chunk you can find and break it in half with your fingers.  If it brittle and breaks cleanly they are ready, if it is soft and bends some check again in about 8-12 hours.

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Step #4 Grind the garlic

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Here is where you have a couple options, you can grind all of the cloves using a spice/coffee grinder and store in an airtight container or simply store the chunks in an airtight container and grind into powder as needed.

If you smell the chunks you may be surprised that there is not a strong garlic smell, that is because the outside has become oxidized.  Though if you break one in half and take a smell or pop it in your mouth (if you are daring) you will see there is plenty of flavor inside.  If you grind the garlic chunks they will start to oxidize reducing their effectiveness and given the new much larger surface area of the small particles it will not take long for your garlic to lose the great aroma it previous had.

You can preserve this potency longer by keeping the garlic as chunks and grinding it into powder right before using.  Though bringing out and cleaning a spice grinder each time you cook with garlic can be a pain, so I would recommend grinding as much as you expect to use for a couple months and save the garlic chunks in an air tight contain and grind when needed so you always have fresh garlic powder ready to use.

As with any spices once opened they are good for about 6 months ground or 12 month whole when stored in an airtight container and twice those numbers if vacuum packed.  So the garlic chunks are useable for one year with about half that for ground variety.  You can also store garlic powder or garlic chunks in an airtight container in your freezer to gain a few extra months.

15 Responses to “Making your own garlic powder”

  1. meemsnyc Says:

    What an awesome idea! The flavor must be so amazing.


  2. Courtney Says:

    When cutting up your garlic, it’s a good idea to remove the shoot in the middle of the garlic clove. This imparts an unpleasantly bitter flavor to the garlic (fresh or dried) and is best left out of cooking. It’s easy to remove the shoot with the tip of a paring knife.


  3. BJ Gaudreau Says:

    How do you store the garlic powder after drying and grinding? In a jar in the cupboard? In a jar in the fridge? In a jar in the freezer?
    Thanks, BJ Gaudreau
    PS: I appreciate all the topics you have posted.. Thanks for those.


  4. Outdoor Hydroponics Says:

    Awesome Post! I’ve been wanting to so the same, but I need to invest in a good dehydrator.


  5. The Cheap Vegetable Gardener Says:

    meemsync, you can definately tell by the smell.

    Courtney, great tip. I also do this to make it a little easier to peel the garlic.

    BJ, airtight container is your best bet. In a dark cupboard will give you about 6 months with freezer giving you a few extra months.

    Outdoor, you could also use your oven depending how low it goes mine bottoms out at 250 which is a little to hot for these. Also heard people drying on top of wood buring stoves (obviously not this time of year)


  6. Rob Says:

    A little trick I know of for using the oven is the warm feature. Simply place a meat thermometer or therm made for measuring oven temps in your oven. See how hot it gets on the “warm” feature. If under 200 should be good to go as a dehydrator


  7. Rob Says:

    P.S. Do the same if you have a gas oven- try the oven with only the pilot light as heat source – don’t turn on the oven.. See how warm it gets with the pilot light!


  8. One Sunny Acre Says:

    Thanks for the directions. Sounds easy enough!


  9. Braiding garlic for men Says:

    […] If you are lucky enough to only grow large perfectly formed bulbs with no imperfections you can skip this step, but if you are like me you should have at least a few bulbs with small cloves or some that are split open.  Set these bulbs aside and use right away in your cooking or do like I did and use them to make some garlic powder. […]


  10. Harriet Says:

    I go through the same thing when buying garlic powder, even though I know the cheap stuff surely is mostly unknown fillers, so this is very helpful.

    Without a dehydrator, I might try my craft oven which shouldn’t go higher than 250. Luckily, I haven’t cooked any polymer clay in it yet!


  11. How To Make Garlic Powder Says:

    […] via Making your own garlic powder. […]


  12. Louisa Says:

    Just a thought about temperatures – garlic powder for medicinal use is always created at temperature of less than 65 celcius 150 farenheit because the property responsile for all of garlic’s amazing health benefits (allicin) is destroyed at temperatures above 65 celcius. So if you want your garlic powder to e healthful as well as tasty, keep the temperature of your oven or dehydrator below that!


  13. Rick in Westtexas Says:

    What grinder do you use and does it grind into powder?


  14. oneolddog Says:

    I did this exact process in September 2011. I have a large 9 tray dehydrator and a Mr. Coffee grinder. The powder came out very fine and I filled two large Tones Garlic Powder containers. The garlic powder set on the shelf in the pantry and maintained its flavor and aroma to the end this June 2012. A little tip for peeling garlic is to put the cloves in a bowl of tap water for 10 minutes or so. When they come out the skins slide off quite easily and even though you still get sticky fingers you can dip yur fingers in the same bowl of water to disolve the stickiness.


  15. oneolddog Says:

    Also, don’t put the whole garlic bulb into the water with its wrappers intact. They are water resistant and do not peel off nearly as easy as when they are dry. Only the individual cloves with their red skins should be soaked.


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