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Saturday, December 03, 2011

Garlic Powder revisted

As many of you know I have been making garlic powder for many many years, at least 10, maybe more. This is what you do when you grow thousands of corms of garlic and have many unsellable corms (too small, damaged by bugs or harvesting, or one clove is bad but the rest of the corm is good). This year we had a bumper crop of small corms as the Purple Glazer garlic we grew was a complete failure and all the corms instead of being huge as they are supposed to be all were tiny things, elven garlic if you will.

I had gotten to the point of dreading the garlic powder manufacturing. Peeling a bushel of garlic, literally tens of thousands of cloves is incredibly daunting. Plus the past 3 years the powder has, despite the use of many, many silica desiccating packs, gotten moist and turned into a garlic powder brick. So I was not going to make any garlic powder this year until I saw this short video

This has changed how I peel garlic and a job that used to take several days to do now takes several hours (and is a pretty good work out to boot, maybe better than the Shake Weights that seem to be all the rage).

So after 2 hours I had this big bowl of about 4 pounds of garlic cloves ready to be put through the Cuisinart food processor.

And that is another change I have in how I make garlic powder. In the past I would usually not peel the garlic at all and put cloves with skins still on into the dehydrator and than when they were dehydrated and a bit smaller, than I would remove the skins. This was still tedious but took about 1/2 the time of peeling fresh cloves but it still meant hours and hours of peeling. But it also meant 3 to 5 days in the dehydrator at fairly high temps (130F) to get the cloves dry.

But with the noisy bowl technique, I get beautifully peeled cloves quickly and because they are naked I now put the cloves through the food processor using a few good pulses as you want a very rough chop and not a puree (I believe you can use a blender for this or even chopped them by hand) and than put the chopped garlic into the dehydrator (I have a big Excalibur with a temperature setting, most cheaper dehydrators do not allow you to set the temp) at 110F which means it does not cook. The chopped garlic is dehydrated in about 12 to 24 hours. Once dried it is ready to be processed through a blender with a glass or stainless steal carafe (do not use plastic, you will be sorry as you will now have a blender dedicated to garlicky things and you may get microscopic plastic chips in your powder) or you can use the chunks and do no more processing.

I would love to say, it's that easy but making garlic powder in small batches by hand is not easy at all, even with the noisy bowl technique it still takes days to make a couple pounds of the stuff. but once you taste it it is hard to go back to the insipid stuff posing as garlic powder you buy at the stores for real cheap.


Melody said...

I love that video! We grow a bunch of garlic for ourselves and it never fails that a good portion of it is flawed in some way. I peel to keep them in the fridge with olive oil over them....much better way!

Sherry said...

I wonder if putting a bit of rice in the jar with the powder (like you do with salt) would keep it from clumping and turning into a brick?