You may already know I cannot stand for anything to go to waste. Yes, I know it's my OCD. I've been learning easy ways to make food go further and/or last longer. This time it was garlic. I've been growing garlic in my garden for the past 3 years. Each year I plant the largest bulbs from my harvest for the next years crop. I've just harvested my garlic but I had a small bowl left over from last year.
Different varieties of garlic preserve better than others. It's important to store the garlic in a cool and dark location with moderate humidity. I had brought the last of the crop into the kitchen for use. Some of them had dried up into hard bulbs. Others were starting to dry, with loose skin and a few with shoots.
First you'll need to remove all the skins. This is probably my least favorite part. Lucky for me, my son loved to use the rubber tube thingy I got at one of those home parties that will remove the skins if you roll it between your hands. So he did the hard work. If the bulb has started to grow a green shoot, cut it in half and pull out the green piece. This isn't harmful but could make your garlic bitter. Chop them up as small as possible. I even chopped up the hard dry ones. I used my Ninja chopper. You can use a blender or food processor. If you do it by hand, try to get the pieces as small and consistent in size as possible. The smaller/similar the pieces are, the more evenly they will dry.
If you have a dehydrator you may need to use your fruit leather trays. If you are using an oven, use parchment paper. Spread the garlic pieces as thinly and as evenly as possible. This will reduce dry time and help to drive more evenly.
Dehydrator - Set to the lower temperature for herbs approximately 105 to 115 degrees. I dried mine for about 4 hours. I suggest doing this outside to prevent the house from smelling like garlic.
Oven- Preheat the oven to the lowest temperature. 140 - 170 if possible. If you have a convection oven use the convection setting with the fan that helps circulate the air. Remember you're not trying to cook the garlic. Stir every thirty minutes until it is dry and crumbles between your fingers. May take 2.5 to 3 hours depending on the volume of garlic.
Once the garlic is completely dry let the garlic cool completely before processing. You don't want to risk any moisture remaining in the the dried goods. Next you'll want to run the dried chunks through your food processor or a coffee grinder. Whichever will grind the powder more fine.
Store it in an airtight container to be sure no moisture collects inside the container.
There are several options to prepare the garlic for different uses. You can follow the steps up to removing from the dehydrator. Then crumble by hand to leave it in larger pieces. You can then add pieces of garlic to soups and stews where they will re-hydrate.
You could also combine with salt for garlic salt or use onions for onion powder or onion salt. I've even made celery powder using celery leftover from a party tray.
Let me know if you try this out! What did you dehydrate? How do you plan on using it?