Why You Should Never Dehydrate Whole Cloves Of Fresh Garlic

Garlic, with its robust and pungent flavor, is a staple ingredient in countless savory dishes. Dehydrating garlic cloves allows you to concentrate their distinct taste, which can amplify the complexity of a dish. Dehydrating garlic also extends its shelf life — and reduces food waste. When properly dried and stored, dehydrated garlic can hold for several years. Though this technique of preserving and utilizing garlic can be very useful, it can also be more challenging than some home cooks might realize.

Dehydrating whole garlic cloves can be challenging due to their shape and moisture content. Ensuring even drying is difficult because the moisture within the cloves can lead to uneven drying and potential spoilage. This is due to the difficulty in knowing when the center of whole garlic cloves has completely dried. Instead of working with whole cloves, it is better to slice or mince them before dehydrating the aromatic ingredient.

Tips for drying garlic

To achieve the best results when dehydrating garlic cloves, peel and slice the garlic cloves as uniformly as possible. This allows for even drying and reduces the risk of moisture retention. Next, arrange the sliced or minced garlic cloves on dehydrator trays in a single layer. Set the dehydrator to a low temperature and allow the garlic to dehydrate for several hours or until completely dry and brittle.

Once your garlic cloves are dehydrated, there are plenty of possible ways to use it. Use it as garlic powder after grinding it into a fine powder using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Infuse oils and use them to drizzle over salads, pasta, or grilled meats for an added hint of garlicky goodness. In a pinch for fresh garlic, you can even rehydrate the dried garlic cloves by soaking them in warm water or oil. 

So, don't be afraid to dehydrate your own garlic — especially if you have an excessive amount of cloves on hand. Just keep in mind that the process will require a bit more prep than simply tossing them in the oven or dehydrator.