Preserve your bounteous harvest this year by dehydrating garlic and learn how to make garlic powder. Even make your own garlic salt!
Adding fresh garlic to your homamade dishes will really step up the flavor without a lot of extra effort. I use fresh garlic in my cooking a LOT and rely heavily on my own garlic to do this.
But there are days where I need to get dinner on the table quick and need to cut out the extra step of preparing the fresh garlic. Using my homegrown garlic powder is great to have in a pinch.
Another reason I like dehydrating Garlic is because it allows me to use up my garlic when it may be nearing the end of it’s usability. This happens on occasion when I have a lot of garlic that I have produced and I haven’t had the chance to use it all in time before it starts going bad.
Good news, this is the perfect time to preserve your garlic for future use by dehydrating your garlic. There are a couple of ways to dehydrate garlic and how to make garlic powder. Lets dive in!
How to grow garlic
If GROWING GARLIC is something new to you and you want to avoid the trip to the grocery store to buy it, then let’s go over a quick guide to growing garlic. I have my GARLIC GROWING GUIDE that you can check out, but lets toss out a few basics.
- garlic is planted in the fall. Depending on your growing zone, you will be planting garlic in October or November
- You will want to buy SEED GARLIC and avoid planting garlic that you buy at the grocery store. I love buying my seed garlic from MIGARDNER. They have great prices and free shipping after you spend 12 dollars, which is awesome. If they have sold out, my next favorite is JOHNNEY SEEDS.
- Separate the garlic bulbs into individual cloves leaving the skins on
- Plant garlic cloves 6-8 inches deep and about 6 inches apart in loose soil.
- Here is the BEST PART: let your garlic sit there until the summer. If you experience some dry times of the winter or spring, you can water them a little, but for the most part, leave ’em be.
- Depending on your zone your garlic will be ready anywhere from early summer to late July. Your garlic harvest will be ready when the green stalks start to turn brown and fall over.
- Harvest your garlic and let it dry out completely allowing the stalks to turn completely brown.
- Braid your SOFT NECK GARLICK or cut of the stems of your HARD NECK GARLICK
- store in a cool dark place or dehydrate garlic and/or make into garlic powder
What you need for dehydrating garlic
- Dehydrator (preferred) or oven
- garlic (you can use a lot of garlic or a small amount, just what you want to dehydrate)
- airtight container
What type of garlic can you use?
There are many different types of garlic out there. You can use any variety for dehydrating garlic. Hard neck or soft neck, doesn’t matter.
There are many different varieties within those two types and again, you can use any. Each variety of garlic has a different flavor.
My advice is to purchase a few different kinds until you know what flavor you like best. My favorite varieties are within the hard neck category.
This is mainly because the cloves are much larger, easy to peel and that matters to me. I don’t have time to peel tiny cloves of garlic all day!
How to prepare the garlic for dehydrating
Take your garlic bulb and separate it into individual cloves. I would suggest that you dehydrate a fresh clove of garlic over preserved garlic that you buy at the store. I also would advise that you don’t dehydrate or dry garlic cloves whole.
It is best to use sliced garlic or minced garlic. You can use a garlic press for the mincing if you want. I am not a huge fan of using a garlic press and prefer to chop off the base of the clove where it is a bit tough. Then I will chop the garlic until I get it into a minced state.
The garlic press seems to waste a large amount of the garlic clove in my opinion, and that bothers me, so I chop it myself.
Three forms for dehydrating garlic
You can dehydrate garlic in its minced form. Minced garlic is nice to have for adding into recipes when you want to add in small pieces that will get cooked and go unnoticed but still add a bit of texture.
Powder form: you will create this after the garlic is dry.
The last option is by slicing the garlic clove into thin slices that become garlic flakes after the dehydrating process. These garlic slices are fun to have when you want to add a larger form of garlic into a recipe for show or texture.
I prefer minced or powder form and usually make a bit of both. You can simply mince all the garlic and after it is dried turn some of it into powder form (instructions below).
Dehydrating garlic using a food dehydrator
I find using a dehydrator to be the simple way or the best way for dehydrating garlic. You are more likely have success with this method.
- Prepare your garlic as instructed above, then line up your garlic on the dehydrator trays in a single layer. If your dehydrator doesn’t have solid trays then the garlic will fall through. A simple fix to that dilemma is by using parchment paper on your trays and then putting the prepared garlic on the trays.
- NOTE: Thicker slices or larger pieces will take longer to dehydrate. This is why it is important to create similar sized pieces. I am telling you this to help you, not stress you out. If your pieces aren’t perfectly the same, don’t stress it too much. Just do your best.
- Slide your dehydrator trays into your dehydrator and set the temperature to 125 degrees F for 6 hours. The drying process could take up to 12 hours depending on the size of garlic you are dehydrating and the type of machine you have. After 6 hours you can check your garlic and add time as needed.
Dehydrating garlic using an oven
Using the oven will only work of your lowest setting is below 130 degrees F. My oven only goes to 170 degrees and that will most likely overcook the garlic, turning it brown and bitter.
Higher temperatures are not the best for dehydrating garlic. If your oven temperature does go that low, then prepare garlic as mentioned before, spread it out on a cookie sheet with parchment paper and put in the oven.
Leave the oven door open to promote air circulation. A dehydrator has a fan inside for this purpose. Let the drying process go for 6-12 hours.
Another negative for using the oven is that it is pretty expensive to run you oven that long. Just something to consider.
How do you know when your garlic is done dehydrating?
Check your dehydrated garlic pieces at about 6 hours of drying. If the slices are crispy and can snap in half then they are finished. For minced garlic press your fingernail in and see if it breaks. If it just smashes or is mushy, then it is not ready.
CONDITION YOUR GARLIC
Conditioning is simply checking on your your garlic, after it has been dehydrated, daily while looking for moisture.
After your garlic is done dehydrating let is sit and cool. If you put it into a glass jar while it is still warm, it will steam and the moisture in the jar will rehydrate your garlic a bit and it will not last.
When the dehydrated garlic is cooled, put it where it is out of direct sunlight. Check on the jar and shake it gently, while checking for moisture. If you do see excess moisture, then you will need to dehydrate the garlic again.
How to store dehydrated garlic
Place cooled garlic into an airtight container and store in a cool dark place after it has been conditioned. If you want your garlic to be able to store for longer, using moisture absorbing packets will preserve the garlic for longer. You can also use mylar sealed bags with moisture absorbers.
How long will dehydrated garlic last?
It depends on how you stored your garlic and if you conditioned it or not. Conditioned garlic in a airtight container can last for 1-2 years. Usually after a year, the garlic will start to lose flavor.
If you have stored with moisture absorbers in a sealed mylar bag then the shelf life can be extended to multiple years 10+.
How to make garlic powder from dehydrated garlic
This process is simple and doesn’t take long! To make homemade garlic powder, take your dehydrated garlic and put it into a food processor, good blender, coffee grinder or even use a mortar and pestle (this takes a bit of elbow grease!).
Grind the dry garlic until it becomes a powder. You get to decide how fine you want your powder to be. If you want it more fine, then grind the garlic for longer.
How to use dehydrated garlic or garlic powder
You can use garlic powder or dehydrated garlic much like the way you would use fresh garlic. When sautéing food, it is best to use the dehydrated garlic.
When adding to soups or stews, homemade garlic powder does a wonderful job. You can sprinkle the garlic powder over buttered bread and toast in the oven for garlic bread. There really are so many options.
Can I make garlic salt out of garlic powder?
Yes! Using a food processor or something similar, add 1 part garlic powder to 3 parts salt and pulse until it is well combined.