Have you tried making homemade garlic powder and onion powder? I have! And I didn't realize just how easy and inexpensive it is to make this stuff.
It started when I wanted to make my own taco seasoning, which called for both these ingredients. And what's the point of growing all these herbs and veggies but still buying their powders? Google is a good friend, I tell ya. I come up with a question and it provides me an answer every time.
The most obvious benefits to making homemade garlic or onion powder is the cost: With onions or garlic purchased from the farmer's market I'm paying about half the price I would pay for powder at Trader Joe's. And if I ever manage to get my own garlic and onions to grow, even less. Also, the flavor is so much stronger than store-bought powders, so I use a bit less. And on top of that, there are no additives like "Anti-caking agents", whatever those may be. And drying can be done numerous ways, from free to next to nothing. Dried garlic is obviously not as preferred as fresh, but it comes in handy.
Want to know how to make your own homemade garlic powder or onion powder? Here's how I made mine:
1. First, I put my onion in the freezer while I pealed and sliced each clove of the garlic into thin, flat strips. Unless you like a good tear duct cleansing, popping your onion in the freezer for 10 minutes or so will minimize the release of sulfuric acid. It has no affect or benefit on the drying process, it's simply to avoid sobbing while slicing. With the onions I peeled and sliced them into thin rings. I placed the garlic on the fruit roll tray in my dehydrator so they wouldn't fall through the trays; the rings of onion went on the regular racks.
Sliced garlic: I didn't slice it all thin enough so some of them much longer to dry.
2. Next I stuck them all in a food dehydrator at 130 degrees until they were dry and brittle - about 2-3 hours for those I had sliced thin enough; longer for those I didn't. Air drying is another option; it can take days to weeks so protecting them may be necessary. You can also use your oven, set to 150 degrees for 1-2 hours, making sure to flip them occasionally. They may brown a bit more and it may decrease the flavor, or at least that's what I hear. One last thing to remember: The food dehydrator and the oven create a bit of Tuscan ambiance with the garlic throughout the house, so if you want to decrease smelling like you have a fear of vampires, air dry them.
Sliced onions: again, I could have sliced these thinner too.
3. To check that they were fully dry I tried to crumble a bit between my fingers. When ready, I ground the dried garlic in a mortar and pestle and stored it in the old spice jars I had kept. I did the same with the onions. You can also grind them in a food processor or store the slices to use as is. You can store them in baggies, Tupperware, a canning jar, whatever. It supposedly keeps for up to a year once completely dried (although I can't see us ever testing that theory) and possibly longer in the freezer. If you save the slices as is, you can reconstitute them in water if called for.
Grinding the onions in the mortar and pestle.
4. One regular sized garlic made about 2-3 tsp of homemade garlic powder and one average sized yellow onion created about the same. Next time I plan to do several cloves of garlic at once, so I'm not doing this as often. I'm also going to look into sewing one of those air dryers using a thin muslin. (Wish me luck on that one.)
Making these changes is just one simple step you can make in your efforts to go green.
When you're ready for a few more steps check out the articles below.
Whatever step you take, remember to have fun!
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