Category Archives: Dehydrated Garlic

A Year In Growing Garlic (Part VI)Unintended Consequences

Tuesday’s warm temperatures allowed me to get into the garlic field to do some work. If you are growing your own garlic this is a job that you shouldn’t have to worry about, but I decided to write about it so that others can learn from our mistakes.

My task for the day was digging green garlic. The garlic that I was digging were not the cloves that we planted last October for harvest this July. This patch of garlic was coming up seemingly independently. What happened was when we planted last years crop, in the fall of 2015, we planted a short row of small cloves that we thought we would use as a test row to try out the potato digger that we hoped to use to harvest the garlic. That row went largely neglected (unweeded and unfertilized) last year as it was not really figured in as part of the crop that we would sell. When harvest season came the condition of the soil was so dry and hard that using the potato digger was out of the question. That short row of garlic also went unharvested.

When my husband tilled the area to prepare for the next planting those garlic plants were tilled under. It is very apparent that many of the cloves from that unharvested garlic survived the tilling, as they sprouted up along with the garlic that we planted for this years crop.

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More garlic coming up would be a good thing except that they were coming up amongst the garlic that we planted for this season. If left in place they would be too crowded which could reduce the size of the bulbs.

Needing to get rid of them, but not wanting to waste them, I decided to harvest the greens. These are referred to as green garlic. Normally to harvest green garlic I would just snip it at the base of the plant and leave the roots in place, but since I did not want this to grow back up I needed to dig it. The job was somewhat complicated by the fact that the soil was still pretty wet and therefore sticky mud, also many of the plants were growing sideways so the roots were not directly below the greens. I spent several hours Tuesday with my hands and knees in the dirt and filled up a paper shopping bag with green garlic.

When I took home the bag full of green garlic Tuesday evening I wasn’t sure exactly what I was going to do with them. I started by clipping all the roots off that evening. I would decide more in the morning.

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Tuesday morning I decided my next step was to clean the greens. For several reasons I decided I was not ready to send these to market. Mostly because people are not familiar with buying and using green garlic, so before market it I need to learn a little more about it myself. I need to know the best way to store them and how long the will keep. I need to experiment so I can educate others.

I expect that they will keep well for a while in the refrigerator, but they do need to be sealed in a bag to prevent the garlic smell from adulterating other foods. So I put a sealed bag of greens in the veggie drawer in the refrigerator. I’ll add some to my salad this weekend.

I then decided to see how well they would dehydrate. If they maintain their flavor they would be even better than dried chives in my opinion. Using scissors I cut them into small pieces and loaded my dehydrator. I set the temperature at 90 degrees and checked them every few hours. It probably took about six hours to completely dry them. I was quite happy with the flavor that was retained through the drying process. A word of warning for anyone who might attempt this: the dried greens are very light weight and confetti-like; the least amount of movement can make them blow around. Many of the green flakes ended up on the counter and even the floor. So move cautiously around them and DO NOT open the dehydrator when it is still running!

My sister and my aunt who stopped by while I was cleaning the green garlic were each given a bag and we talked about ways to use them. I hope to hear back from them how they used them and how well they liked them. 🙂

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I had enough to fill the dehydrator again on Thursday so I did a second batch. I’m sure my husband will agree that dehydrating garlic should come with this WARNING: Do Not Try This At Home. During the first few hours of the process the smell of garlic is over powering. We opened windows and put in a window fan blowing outward. We also agreed that in the future when we dehydrate garlic it will be done outside.

In conclusion, I highly recommend growing (and eating) green garlic, so watch for future posts about where I will be intentionally growing it. 🙂

Life Is Happening Faster Than I Can Write

I don’t know about other writers but it takes me a while, anywhere from couple hours to a couple days, to write a blog post. I’ll write some, then go back and read and edit and stop to do other things or just collect my thoughts, then I’ll write some more and reread and edit and you get the picture. It seems to happen quite often that I’ll be working on one post when something else comes up, and I decide to write about that instead. At this point I have no fewer then a dozen drafts saved, potential posts that are started but just haven’t got completed and published yet. I suspect that some will get finished in the future, some may be deleted, and some of the thoughts may be incorporated in other post.

With several things on my mind this morning, I just realized that life is happening faster than I can write. (This is probably why I’ve never been able to keep a journal for very long.) Todays post we be about various things.

In Like A Lion

It’s hard to believe that today is March 1st already. See what I mean about life happening fast. Today is actually March 2nd. Still hard to believe. Whichever day it is, March did arrive and in our area it came in like a lion. I wouldn’t describe it as a raging or even roaring lion but the lion was not sleeping last night either, it was perhaps was just resting or playfully romping. We got a decent amount of snow, but as seems to be the case lately, not as much as the weather forecasters predicted. Probably the most accurate weather forecast that I heard yesterday was given by the radio DJ that said “were gonna get a lot of snow”. Since it was snowing pretty hard at that time it was a safe bet that he was right. Looking at flat surfaces outside it looks like we got about four inches, but since it was a light fluffy snow and the wind was blowing, some areas on the ground may have eight inches while others only have a couple. The “lion” may have caused adverse travel conditions, and shut down schools and senior centers, but I am not aware of any power outages or actual storm damage in our area. The “lion” did give us the opportunity to play in the snow a little today. 🙂 My big hope now is that when “March goes out like a lamb” it is not an unruly lamb.

Maple Syrup Update

One thing I didn’t realize about sap flow, and I don’t know how typical this is, was how it will stop and start again. Since the temperatures have been so unstable we have had the sap flow for a day or two, then stop for several days, then flow for a day or two, then stop again. We had a whole week between the first sap boiling and the next time we had sap to boil, but this past Sunday, with temperatures topping out near 60 degrees, was a great day to be at the farm boiling sap. While my husband was there all day, I joined him there for a few hours and took some pictures of the process that I did not get during the last syrup making.

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Cooking Sap At The Farm
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Cooking Sap

You can see in the above pictures that the sap has boiled down some.

The next series of pictures shows how the sap will foam up and boil over if the fire underneath is extremely hot.

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Stirring the pot and reducing the flame brought it back down.

The next picture shows that were getting close to the point where we will finish it off on the stove in the house. It has cooked way down and is turning brown. It also tastes sweet.

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Cooking Sap

When we brought the sap home the first step was to filter it. To do this we used a jelly bag set inside a flour sifter. It may not be a professional method, but it works. We did set the filter up on two small glasses to give the sap room to drain into the pan.

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Filtering Sap

We then followed the same process that we did previously, boiling the sap until it became thick and reached 219 degrees Fahrenheit on the thermometer. Instead of bottling it immediately like we did last time. We let the temperature drop to 200 degrees and filtered it again.

Last time we did not filter it after boiling, and we ended up with sand in the bottom of the jar. I did a little research and found out that the sand is formed during the boiling process, so in order to have clear syrup it must be filtered after the boiling is complete. This time we do not have any sand in it.

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Maple Syrup

My husband estimated cooking about 50 quarts of sap and our yield turned out to be these (10) 4 ounce jars of syrup, equal to 1 and 1/4 quarts, so our ratio of sap to syrup was 40:1. And the flavor is oh so good!

Sharing The Kitchen

With Sunday being such a nice day the sap continue to flow and my husband spent yesterday, again, cooking sap at the farm, while I spent the day at home peeling garlic to dehydrate. Once I got the approximately 3 lbs. of garlic peeled. I realized that Dom would be bringing syrup home to cook this evening. Knowing that once I put the garlic in the dehydrator the smell of garlic would permeate the house, I decided that I would wait. I don’t know if it would happen, but I didn’t want the syrup to pick up the smell and perhaps the flavor of garlic. Garlic flavored syrup just does not sound appetizing. I put the peeled garlic in a zip lock bag freezer bag and put it in the fridge for the night.

We cooked up some of the sap last night and the rest will remain in cold storage until we are ready to cook it. Today the garlic is in the dehydrator. It should be finished by tomorrow morning.

Chick Update

The chicks are doing well.

Getting their pin feathers.

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Enjoying their playhouse.

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And making new friends.

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Others Enjoyed Sunday’s Weather As Well

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The bees were out on Sunday.

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The Chickens enjoyed the weather as well.

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I don’t know if the pond ever completely froze over this year.

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Widely because the windmill has done it’s job.

You can’t tell from this picture but the windmill was spinning.

That’s All Folks

At least that’s enough for today. Until Next Time 🙂

 

Dehydrating Garlic

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.

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Garlic

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.

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Garlic Peeler

 

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.

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Peeled Garlic 3lbs.

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.

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Garlic Ready To Be Dehydrated

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.

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Dehydrated Garlic

 

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.

 

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Making Garlic Powder in the Food Processor

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.

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Homemade 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.