Garlic is a wonderful and powerful savory addition. It jazzes up many recipes and also contains healing properties. Truly fresh garlic is pungent, white, hard and full of a juicy liquid. I believe that much of the garlic that is sold in stores has gone past its peak (rubbery or soft) and has lost much of its medicinal value. One way to maintain not only its flavor but also its healing powers is to dry it and make it into garlic powder.
We discussed planting garlic last fall. It should be picked when it has four green leaves left on the plant. The leaves will begin to turn brown in the summer—one at a time. I generally pick about eight garlics at a time, bundle them tightly together and tie them with string. I then hang the bundles in a shady, airy place to begin to dry.
I leave the garlic bundles hanging out for two to four weeks. When I am ready to start making the powder, I bring the bundles in and separate all of the cloves. This can be a messy job so I do it all together before I begin to cut into the garlic itself.
Next. I cut the tops and the bottoms of the cloves and try to tear a strip or two of the skin.
Placing these cloves in a dehydrator tray, they are put at a low temperature (below 115 degrees) overnight. This will help to loosen the peels and aid the next process.
Day number two consists of peeling all of the cloves then slicing them up in a food processor.
Back into the dehydrator they go for six or seven days. Again, keep the temperature below 115 degrees as this will help the garlic to maintain its healing properties.
Once the chips have cooled, they can be put in a tight jar until you have time to complete the process.
When you are ready to make the powder, put the chips in a blender (not too many at a time) and hit the “chop” button. Wait about a minute after processing before opening the blender as there will be lots of powder floating at first. I then put the powder through a strainer so that the ultimate product is fine. The larger chips just go back into the blender.
Place into jars and seal. The flavor is unbeatable—it truly tastes like garlic that has just been picked from the garden. But now it is ready to be used all year long.
Celeste Longacre has been growing virtually all of her family’s vegetables for the entire year for over 30 years. She cans, she freezes, she dries, she ferments & she root cellars. She also has chickens.
Celeste has also enjoyed a longtime relationship with The Old Farmer’s Almanac as their astrologer! A personally autographed copy of her book, Love Signs, is available in the Almanac.com General Store . You can also find an ebook version on Amazon.com for $2.99.
Celeste is a great speaker for garden groups and civic groups. She is also offer a gardening “Apprentice with Celeste." Email her for details via AlmanacEditors@yankeepub.com