how-to-dry-garlic

How to Dry Garlic

Drying garlic is a good way to preserve the cloves. It also allows you to make your own garlic powder. You can dry sliced or chopped garlic and make your own garlic powder if desired. While it's not difficult to dry garlic, it does take a few hours of time and attention for best flavor and keeping qualities.

Garlic Varieties to Dry

Any variety of garlic can be dried. Try these varieties:

  • Asiatics: Asian Tempest, Korean Red
  • Turban: China Dawn, Shandong, Tzan
  • Creole: Creole Red, Ajo Rojo
  • Rocamble: Amish, Spanish Roja, Ukraine Red
  • Porcelain: Majestic, Music, Georgian Crystal
  • Purple Stripe: Cesnok Red, Belarus
  • Artichoke: Inchelium Red, Taltian Late
  • Silverskin: Nootka Rose, Rose du Var.

Selecting the Cloves

Dried garlic will keep longer and taste better if you cure and select cloves properly. Look for fresh, firm cloves. Avoid any that have bruised spots and never try to dry garlic with spots of mold or decay. You can use home-grown garlic as well as cloves from the store. Both should be allowed to age in a warm dry room until they give off a strong garlic odor.

Preparing the Cloves

Garlic must be peeled before drying. Some people blanch the cloves in boiling water for a minute, then cool quickly in ice water and peel. Others use a garlic peeler or a sharp knife. You can slice the cloves thinly with a sharp knife, use a garlic slicer or mandoline or chop the cloves. Don’t use a garlic press – you lose the flavorful juices.

Drying Methods

You can use a dehydrator or warm oven, or simply air dry garlic on a warm, breezy day. Follow manufacturer’s instructions to use a dehydrator. To dry in an oven, spread garlic in a single layer in a baking pan. Keep the oven temperature around 115°F (45°C). Outdoors, spread garlic in a single layer, cover with cheese cloth and place out of direct sun.

Knowing When It’s Ready

Don’t rush the process of drying garlic. Lower temperatures will give you better flavor. The dried garlic should be crisp and brittle – a clove will snap when bent. Dry until the garlic is a light ivory or cream color. Don’t let the garlic get brown; browning means the volatile compounds have been destroyed and the garlic will be bitter.

Storing Dried Garlic

Always stored dried garlic in an airtight container. You can keep it at room temperature or place in the freezer. However, freezing decreases the amount of allicin – the compound that gives garlic its spicy flavor. Freezing should be used for short-term storage only. Don’t grind your dried garlic until just before use; again, grinding releases allicin and you’ll lose flavor.