Garlic powder is dried or dehydrated garlic that has been finely ground and pulverized to create the powdered form for adding mild garlic flavor to foods. In short, it is the powdered version of garlic.
Do not confuse garlic powder and garlic salt though. Garlic salt is a combination of garlic powder and table salt. Actually, one teaspoon of garlic salt is equivalent to 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder plus 7/8 teaspoon table salt.
Fresh Garlic vs. Garlic Powder
Pne large garlic clove is equivalent to ½ teaspoon of garlic powder, while one small garlic clove is equivalent to 1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder. This conversion is useful especially in cooking as you can readily substitute garlic powder if you run out of fresh garlic.
The taste of garlic powder is somewhat different from fresh garlic though. Garlic powder doesn’t taste as sharp as its fresh counterpart. The powder form is milder and disperses well in liquid, making it a better choice for marinades compared to fresh garlic. Garlic powder works wells as a flavor enhancer for dips and it also the ideal choice to use as sprinkles for french fries and other fried foods.
For its convenience and ease of use, garlic powder is an excellent substitute for fresh garlic. But there’s no reason not to have both of them on your kitchen.
How to Make Garlic Powder
Do you want home made garlic powder? Here are the steps for making your very own garlic powder.
- Undress the garlic cloves by peeling off their thin paper-like covering. Discard the wrapper properly.
- Cut the garlic cloves into thin slices. Slices should be about the same general size so that they would all dry on the same time.
- Dry the slices by placing them in a dehydrator. Spread the garlic slices on the tray so that there would be no garlic slices touching each other. Keep the temperature around 125 – 130°F. Turn the garlic slices periodically to help dry them evenly. Thin slices could be ready after 12 hours while large chunks may take longer. One easy way to check if they have been completely dried is by picking the largest slice you can find and press it with your fingers. The garlic slices have been dried enough if they easily shatter when crushed.
- Grind the dried slices into powder. Here you can have plenty of options. You can grind the garlic slices using a spice or coffee grinder, or a food processor. A mortar and pestle could also be used but many find using this traditional tool tiring and time-consuming. Pulverize the garlic thoroughly to achieve the best powder form.
- Place the garlic powder in an airtight container and store it properly in a cool, dark cupboard away from direct heat or sunlight. It should be kept tightly closed when not in use. You can also use shakeable containers like your empty spice bottles. Just make sure these bottles can be tightly sealed.
Commercially prepared garlic power may be convenient, you have no guarantee that all its ingredients are natural. With home made garlic, on the other hand, you can be sure that it will not contain preservatives and additives.