This is an amazing gift, and is not difficult. It needs some planning ahead. And talk about mileage! You will be remembered every time the cook adds a bit of garlic salt to a dish. If you don’t grow your own garlic, purchase it from a farmer’s market where you will find the best and freshest, and you will be able to get a variety that can’t be found at a grocery store.
Every year I provide garlic from my garden for our entire family. My favorite is a pink variety that I have grown since we were given a small bundle as a Christmas gift about twenty years ago. I wish I could tell you the name of it, but I never knew it. We harvest the garlic in July, and it can be used through the fall and winter all the way to mid-May, when it begins to soften and sprout. So early May is the time we peel and dry what is left of the fresh garlic, and then powder it in a blender. This works miraculously well. I first tried it several years ago not knowing if it would work. I was quite surprised to find that the garlic powder I made in my blender was as uniform and fine as what you buy at the grocery, and the flavor is much richer. Added to this is the fact that you know how your garlic was grown, you know the quality of the environment it grew in and the quality of the cloves that made the powder.
The first garlic powder I made, I gave away, and it went fast. But many cloves make into such a small amount that very few people actually received any. It is a very rich gift; a little goes a long way. To stretch it and make it easier to use, I changed to making garlic salt. I still use a large percentage of garlic to the salt, so you can make a very garlicky dish without it becoming too salty.
How To Make Garlic Salt
Gather the garlic bulbs and separate the cloves. Use a sturdy cutting board and a broad knife like a butcher knife. Trim the root end (that is the end that does not come to a point, and may have some little root stubs starting to emerge) off each clove. If you wish, you can trim off the pointed end as well; this makes it a little easier to peel, but it does take some time to do. I think it easier in the long run to just trim off the root end. Put the trimmed cloves into a bowl, and discard the root ends and the papery husks.
Bring a pot of water to a boil. When the water comes to a full rolling boil, drop in the cloves of garlic. Keep the heat on high and leave the garlic in for about a minute. Some of the skins should slip off on their own. Remove from heat, pour into a colander, then pour the garlic cloves into a pot of cold water. Drain this water off. Peel the cloves, discarding the skins.
Using a broad knife, chop the garlic coarsely on a large cutting board. For the next step, you will need a dehydrator, or prepare a cooling rack (like those you use to cool cookies) with a piece of fiberglass screening that has been cut to fit (use scissors). Sprinkle the chopped garlic on the screening, one layer thick without any overlaps. Place in oven at 120 degrees, or dry in dehydrator. Allow to dry until crisp. This can take from 18 to 60 hours, depending on the thickness you have cut the garlic, the type of screening, size of oven, condition of garlic, if using dehydrator or oven, and other variables.
Test to see if garlic is crisp by breaking a piece; if it shatters, or breaks with a snap, it is ready. If it bends even slightly it is not ready; continue to dry until crisp. Sometimes you can pull out the dried ones and allow the remaining to dry longer.
Place dried garlic bits into a blender – and put the lid on! Buzz on high, repeat until it is powdered. You may have a few pieces that just won’t pulverize; remove these pieces.
Mix one part powdered garlic with three parts fine kosher salt. Stir until blended thoroughly. Use a funnel to pour into spice jars that have a screened top.
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