Earlier this summer our friend Zhan Ye gave us several heads of garlic that he and his father grew in his garden. We have been enjoying using it in lots of different ways (like in pesto!) but one of my favorite uses of garlic is in chevre. The only things is…I don’t like fresh garlic in my chevre. The spiciness of it is just too much for me; I prefer garlic powder which has a milder and sweeter flavor more like cooked garlic. Lately I’ve been lamenting the fact that I take my fresh, homemade chevre and my garden fresh herbs and then I go and sprinkle a bunch of commercial garlic powder on it which contains who knows what preservatives and likely comes from half way around the world. It just seems a bit wrong, somehow! So I looked into making my own garlic powder and guess what? Its really easy! It would be even easier if I had a dehydrator, but I don’t, so I used the oven instead.
- Peel a bunch of garlic and slice it into very thin slices. Its best if they are all about the same thickness so that they will all dry at the same rate.
- Lay your slices out in a single layer on some aluminum foil on a baking tray.
- Turn your oven down to its lowest setting. Mine is 170 which is still pretty hot, some ovens will go down to 120. I was worried that at 170 my oven might cook (and burn) rather than just dry so I left the oven door propped open a little bit with a wooden spoon.
- Let the garlic slices dry out for several hours. I think mine took about 4 hours. If you have to leave the house or go to bed during this time just turn the oven off and shut the door, leaving the garlic inside. The heat retained in the oven will keep working until you come back and turn it back on!
- Once the slices are 100% dry and not at all bendy, use a mortar and pestle (or a spice grinder) to grind them into powder. Store in an airtight container*
See how simple? And if I had a real dehydrator and spice grinder it would be even easier! Discovering this “trick” makes me want to dry all sorts of things now. Making up mixes to flavor my chevre is just the tip of the iceberg….
*I only made a small quantity and plan on using it up really quickly. If you don’t plan on using it immediately I’d suggest storing it in the freezer. Even though it has been dehydrated there may still be some oils left in the garlic that could go rancid over time, especially if any extra humidity soaks into the powder. The reason that dried spices from the store last forever is due to the preservatives that are mixed in!