Sunday, February 05, 2012

grinding garlic


When it comes to food I'm a hands-on kind of girl.  I bake my own bread, dry my own tomatoes, and make my own cheese from time to time.   We brew our own beer and ferment our own sauerkraut so I find it odd then that I never once thought about making kitchen staples like garlic powder. 

I was running low on garlic powder and as I was writing it on my grocery list I suddenly wondered if I could make my own.  The answer was yes, and the process was really simple, to boot.


I picked up a few heads of good garlic at the store, peeled and sliced them, and put them in the deydrator on low until they were dried to a crisp.  (a full day and a half)


I ground them up with my mortar and pestle until I had powder and that was it.  Now, it did take some time to process all of that garlic, and 5 heads only gave me about 2/3 cup so the question for me naturally, is "is it worth the effort?"  I stuck my finger in a bit of the store bought garlic powder and tasted it.  It was vaguely garlicky.  I stuck my finger in the homemade and tasted it.  Whooo!  It definitely had some kick.

A little will go a long way with this, and it comes with no extra packaging, which I appreciate.  The overall cost was about the same as store bought too.  I can couple it with some finely ground salt when a recipe calls for garlic salt.  I'm glad I tried it.


Do you have any pantry staples that you make?  Have any good tips for me?

20 comments:

~mel said...

hmmm... now I never thought of making my own garlic powder before either. Thanks for the tip! I think I would use my little mini food processor though instead of the mortar and pestle (because I don't own a mortar and pestle). Your's is a pretty cool looking one. I might have to make an investment down the line.
Fresh is best!!

Tumus said...

Taco seasoning and salsa are about the only ones I currently make. Though if I had a food dehydrator I'd probably try more things.

Tumus said...

I was thinking about it more and I realized I do more than just those things! I love making chicken & vegetable broths. And I make lots of pie crusts and biscuts and keep them in the freezer. I can't believe I forgot about those.

mireya said...

salsa, bread, cheese, vanilla extract, pickles,and some times dried herbs for me but I would love to try my hand at some garlic powder and maybe beef jerky one of these days. where did you get your mortar and pestle? i have a crazy old stone Molcajete from my grandma but, i would love to get a smaller glass one for herbs ^_^

Annie said...

I soooo need a food dehydrater ... this is such a good idea. Enjoy :D

Lisa at lil fish studios said...

~mel - a food processor would work beautifully. So would a little coffee grinder. I don't have a food processor and couldn't find my grinder so, the mortar and pestle came out.

Tumus - broths and crusts are neccessities! I've been wanting to try the taco seasoning, I'll have to do that soon.

mireya - we do our beef jerkey too and oh my goodness, it's so good. Far more affordable too. The mortar and pestle was a wedding gift, and I think it came from Crate and Barrel way back when. It's really heavy and has held up well.

Annie - I had wanted a dehyrator forever but hesitated to buy one because I wasn't sure how much I would use it. So when I found one (and then a second!) at a garage sale for $4 I was so excited. And wouldn't you know, I use it ALL the time. Beef jerky, herbs, tomatoes, even crafts. Definitely worth it. Oh, and dehydrated watermelon was a delightful experiment this past summer, like candy!

Brenda said...

I will definitely give this a try. We use LOTS of garlic powder in our house. A friend of ours put in a large garlic plot last fall, so there may be some home grown garlic to swap in on! ;)

My last experiment in the kitchen was making my own vanilla extract. It was fun and saves a HUGE amount of money. :)

Colleen said...

I never would have thought to do this! I wish I had a food dehydrator. What kind do you use?

I really want to make my own Vanilla Extract.

Glo said...

Have you calculated what is the cost (green-wise and $$-wise) of running the food dehydrator for 36 hours? It may not be trivial.

Lisa at lil fish studios said...

Brenda - homegrown garlic would be wonderful! And I've been wanting to make my own vanilla too.

Colleen - both of the ones I have are by Nesco. They're just your basic circular dehydrators.

Glo - no I didn't calculate it, but the dryer was on the lowest setting which is essentially a fan with only the slightest bit of warmth. I also used a single tray so it was pretty efficient in that the air was only circulating through a small area. I'm going to say the usage was minimal.

If anyone out there has done the math on energy usage though, I'd love to hear.

Margie Oomen said...

that worked out well

judy said...

When making garlic bread I make up a large quantity of garlic butter & fill an ice cube tray with what I don't use right away. Saves so much time to pop out a cube when needed. By-the-way, do you know the lovely white heads of garlic are bleached to make them look nice ? Trouble is, it negates the nutritional value of garlic, so it's better to buy the 'grungy' looking bulbs.[ or better still, grow your own. ]

Tara said...

The one pantry staple in the last year or so that I have not bought -- brown sugar. You may already do this yourself, Lisa but in case you don't, I simply add a little molasses to white sugar and ta-da! No more wasted bags of brown sugar because it has hardened into a lump.

k said...

never thought of this one, but great idea. veggie bouillon is becoming a staple once i made my own (recipe via heidi swanson/101 cookbooks) - very convenient to keep in the freezer as the salt keeps it from freezing completely. i also recommend heidi's magic sauce - good for flavouring, well, everything. i make stocks from bones when i have them (mainly chicken but also turkey, or bison bones i can get for $3/bag from the farmer's market). and i can't wait till my wrist heals so i can make homemade bread again...

BlackStar said...

We just bought a dehydrator and a meat grinder. Now everything we see, we want to process. :)
I can't wait to dry garlic after it's harvested this year.

When I make stock, whether it's veggie, beef, chicken or other, I put some of it in ice cube trays and freeze. Then pop out and put in freezer containers.
I also freeze pesto and tomato paste like this during the summer harvest.

lindamay said...

I make up my own chili powder and from that my own taco powder. much better than store bought and so much cheaper. I use a coffee grinder dedicated to spices only.
Also I make my own pesto and freeze it (mini cupcake size). I make it on the dry side and add oil later if needed. The frozen pieces are small enough that they defrost rather quickly in hot pasta.

Scrapiana said...

How interesting! Herb-flavoured oils & vinegars, pickles, vanilla sugar, marmalade... that's about it around here. The dehydrator sounds fascinating. Have never seen one, much less used one. :)

Terra the Reuser said...

I make my own taco seasoning, but it calls for garlic powder and I bought a small jar of garlic powder from a bazaar a few years ago and am excited about your post. I bought my dehydrator from Craigslist and use it ALL THE TIME! :D It's a great way to "put up" extra fruits/veggies when they're in season or if you bought them but forgot to include them in your diet and they're about to go off.

My absolute favorite? Dried pears. They are divine!

Lisa at lil fish studios said...

Terra - I love my dehydrators! And dried pears sound divine.

Brenda Snyder said...

I make mayo, vanilla extract, bbq sauce, pickles,sauces, taco seasoning, pancake mixes and cake mixes, hot pepper flakes and laundry detergent and liquid hand soap. Maybe more stuff but that is all that comes to mind. I like your post this will be what I make next!

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