As I mentioned in my last post, dehydrating garlic was one of the things on my to-do list. I find that having a to-do list helps me focus on the things I need to get done and crossing off things as they get done gives a sense of accomplishment. I have been very lax in making these lists for myself lately, so writing my last post has reminded me of what a great tool this is. It also motivated me to get busy, and that is what I did.
After writing that post I decided that Monday would be a good day to dehydrate garlic. I started with taking apart the garlic bulbs, and I selected a bowl that I thought would hold the right amount, and I filled it up with garlic cloves.
The bulbs that I used were mostly smaller bulbs that I had set aside for home use, because I thought they were to small to sell. They were a mixture of all five varieties that we grow. https://donteatitsoap.com/2015/08/09/the-garlic-is-in/
The next step, and certainly the most time consuming, was to peel each clove. I did this using my garlic peeler, and although it took a total of about three hours to peel all of those cloves it didn’t seem too bad once I got into a rhythm.
It actually reminded me, of many years ago, when I worked as a machine operator in a factory. I would challenge myself to run the machine as efficiently as possible. It was always a matter of having things set up properly, and usually doing one thing with one hand while doing something else with the other. Concentration was important.
After I had all of the garlic peeled I decided to weigh it before dehydrating it. It weighed 3 lbs. It will be interesting to see how much it weighs when it is finished.
This certainly would have been quicker if I had been using average size bulbs of garlic, but those are the ones we sell, and even quicker had I used large bulbs, but those are the ones we planted for next years crop.
The next step was to slice the garlic cloves. For this I decided to use my food processor with the slicing blade in it. It was obviously faster than slicing them all with a knife, and I believe they were more evenly sliced than if I had attempted to do them by hand.
Next I spread the garlic slices in a single layer on the trays of the dehydrator.
It actually worked out perfectly. 3lbs of garlic filled up all 9 trays of the dehydrator. When I looked online to find out what temperature would be best for drying the garlic I found answers that varied from 105 degrees all the way up to 125 degrees. I decided to go with 110 which was recommended by several blogs that I read. At 7:30 p.m. (19:30 hours) I set the timer for 20 hours, but I knew I would check it in the morning to see how it was coming along.
The smell of garlic quickly filled the house. My husband described it as a little overpowering, and when we went to bed he asked if I thought if we could die from garlic asphyxiation as we slept. I wasn’t worried, but I did keep my nose tucked under the covers most of the night.
By morning the smell was not nearly as strong but it was still very present. As we talked about it I wondered if the smell of garlic dehydrating works similar to aroma therapy. Could the smell have cleansed the home of bacteria or viruses that may have been present, and what potential health benefits could we have reaped from doing this? I don’t have the answers but it seems possible and I will not hesitate to dehydrate garlic in the kitchen in the future.
The garlic was still pliable in the morning, and since I wanted it to be dry to the point of being brittle, I let the drying continue. I checked it several times throughout the day. At one point I realized that the upper trays seemed to be drying faster then the lower trays so I moved some of the trays around to get a more even drying. Finally when I checked the garlic at around 8:30 p.m. (20:30 hours) I determined that it was completely dry. 25 hours after starting it, I turned off the dehydrator and left it for the night.
The garlic dehydrating was done at this point and I could have packaged it in air tight containers and stored it as garlic chips. My husband said I could fool people by offering them a banana chip, but when I offered him a banana chip he said, “No thanks, I already tried one.” Instead of packaging it up like this, I decided to go one step farther and make garlic powder. I pulled out the food processor again but this time put in the sharp chopping blade. I filled the food processor about 1/3 full of garlic chips and turned it on. It was so loud that I turned it off and went to get some ear plugs to wear as I finished this.
I did weigh the dried garlic before grinding it. The three pounds or 48 ounces that I started with was reduced to 22 ounces or just under half the weight that it started at. It took several minutes of grinding in the food processor to get it to a powdered texture, and while some of it was such a fine powder that it was seeping out of the food processor and looked like smoke, there were still a few small chunks in it as well.
I divided it into ball jars. The 8oz or 1 cup size jars held 5 ounces of garlic powder.
It is somewhat surprising, consider the strong smell that was emitted during the process, that the flavor was not lost during the process. The garlic powder seems to have the same strong and wonderful flavor as our fresh garlic. While my husband taste-tested it by eating some off a spoon, I decided to test it by making my dill-garlic dip. We agreed, the flavor is superb!
I have given my husband a heads-up that I intend to do another batch or two since I have more fresh garlic than we will use before it goes bad. Now my dilemma is whether to cross “dehydrate garlic” off of my to-do list, or leave it until I am all done.