We all know we need food to survive. So, if we have to eat food, we might as well eat food that is tasty and enjoyable! And that’s where herbs and spices and flavorings come in to save the day and literally “spice up” our food!
It’s all thanks to those English and Spanish explorers from long ago who identified these herbs and spices and introduced and distributed them to the rest of the world.
That is why we can delight ourselves today with foods which are not bland but rather yummy and tasty thanks to the spices and herbs that we now commonly have available to us.
These herbs and spices have come a long way over the years and are now produced in easy to use, powdered form to make shopping for, and cooking with, these culinary additives so much easier and more convenient.
So now, instead of making or mixing spices and herbs by hand (all that chopping and grinding!) all of us time poor people are able to access and use these herbs and spices quickly and easily.
While readily available in most parts of the world, garlic salt and garlic powder have both become quite common (and popular) in American cooking and cuisine. They are both such a quick and easy way to get some of that amazing garlic taste into your food, without the need to peel and chop garlic cloves.
The Difference Between Garlic Powder And Garlic Salt
It’s perfectly understandable that many people get confused between garlic powder and garlic salt, after all they both have “garlic” in their names and both are a convenient way to add that amazing garlic taste to your food.
So, let’s explore these two substances and find out their similarities and differences.
Let’s begin with garlic powder, which is actually just pulverized garlic.
The process to make garlic powder is pretty simple. First the garlic cloves are peeled and then sliced or minced into small pieces to make the drying process quicker and more efficient. Then the garlic is dried (for several hours or days depending on the process used). Once fully dried the garlic is then ground until fully pulverized into a fine powder.
Many people claim that garlic powder is not as good as real, fresh garlic. You’ll have to make your own decision about that but generally speaking the answer is, it probably depends on what you are cooking.
If it’s a fresh pasta sauce, freshly chopped garlic will certainly add more to the aroma and taste of the food. Garlic powder, however, is more useful for adding to meatballs and burgers when you don’t want to notice chunks of garlic in your food. Personally, I use both fresh garlic and garlic powder depending on what I am cooking.
Another reason some cooks are sometimes dubious about using garlic powder instead of fresh is because not all commercially available garlic powders are made from pure garlic. Some may have additives added that you’d rather not add to your meal so, it’s always good to check the label before purchasing or make your own garlic powder at home - that way you’ll always know what’s in it.
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Garlic salt, on the other hand, is actually the combination of garlic powder and table salt.
Commercially available garlic salt will often include an anti-caking agent too to try to prevent it from clumping together.
Usually, the ratio of garlic to salt is one part garlic to three parts of table salt.
The aroma of garlic salt is pretty similar to that of garlic powder. However the taste of garlic salt is quite different from garlic powder because it’s salty as well as garlicky.
So, if you think your dish needs a bit of a salt kick as well as the addition of garlic, garlic salt could be just what you need.
Which One Is Healthier: Garlic Powder Or Garlic Salt?
As we’ve established, the difference between garlic salt and garlic powder is the salt. Knowing this, it is probably quite obvious which one is better for you as it is well known that excessive salt consumption is associated with several health problems.
- 1Your blood pressure may increase with high salt consumption which can really make you vulnerable to stroke and heart disease.
- 2High amounts of sodium is associated with increased risk of stomach cancer.
- 3It is also documented that salt increases the rate at which bone loses calcium and therefore, it could lead your body to have osteoporosis.
So, if health is a concern, particularly if you’ve been told to take on a low salt/sodium diet, skip the garlic salt and season your food with garlic powder.
Can You Use Garlic Salt Instead Of Garlic Powder And Vice Versa?
The short answer is yes, you can use garlic salt instead of garlic powder and vice versa but, you may need to adjust your other seasonings to get the taste you are looking for.
If a recipe calls for garlic powder but you only have garlic salt on hand, consider not adding any other salt to your recipe. Taste as you go to get the saltiness to flavor balance right.
On the other hand, if a recipe requires garlic salt but you only have garlic powder this is easy to solve. You could actually turn your garlic powder into garlic salt by combining at a ratio of one part garlic powder to 3 parts salt and then add your newly created garlic salt to your cooking.
Or, you could simply add some garlic powder and then add some salt to your food. Again, it’s a good idea to taste as you go to make sure you are getting the combination right.
So, ultimately, garlic powder is the more adaptable of the two and probably the best one to keep on hand if you only have space for one, as you can easily create your own garlic salt by combining garlic powder with table salt (assuming you have salt in the house).
Which Dishes Are Better For Garlic Powder?
If you’re looking for a pure garlic flavor without the added salt then you’ll want to use garlic powder.
- 1You can use garlic powder as an alternative to fresh garlic in any recipe that calls for garlic. It’s especially useful if you don’t want to be able to see and taste large chunks of garlic as the garlic powder is so fine it gets well absorbed into the food and gives a good garlic flavor.
- 2Garlic powder gives you the freedom to add a garlicky flavor to any sort of food you want or need. When you want to control the amount of garlic taste in food and just add a touch of the flavor and aroma, garlic powder works well.
- 3If you aim to make dry rubs for smoked or grilled meat, you can use garlic powder as well.
- 4Garlic powder works well in soups and salad dressings.
Which Dishes Are Better For Garlic Salt?
Garlic salt, on the other hand, offers you more of a salty flavor rather than just plain garlic. As mentioned before, garlic salt is less versatile than garlic powder but can still be a handy addition to your collection of seasonings.
Garlic salt is perfect for sprinkling over your cooked dishes before serving. But it can certainly be used during cooking too - I like to use it as a simple seasoning for chicken breast - just sprinkle some garlic salt and paprika on raw chicken breast and bake in the oven or pan fry for a quick and easy meal.
Garlic salt is also great for popcorn and for seasoning fries or raw vegetables. Anything that would benefit from both the garlic flavor and salt will work well with a sprinkling of garlic salt.
How To Make Garlic Powder At Your Home?
The preparation of garlic powder at home is actually fairly quick and easy. You can grow whole garlic in your garden, or you can buy the garlic cloves or whole garlic from a market nearby.
If you grow your own garlic and you’ve got a glut of it and don’t know what else to cook with it, making your own garlic powder at home is a great idea. It means you’ll be preserving your garlic to use at a later time when perhaps you won’t have any garlic available to use.
You’ll need a jar with a tight closing lid to store your garlic powder in. Then you can keep it in your pantry or spice rack so you’ll always have some garlic powder at hand and ready to use.
Garlic cloves. You’ll want to use at least a whole bulb of garlic (probably more) to make it worth your while. 1 cup of garlic cloves will result in roughly ⅓ of a cup of garlic powder. Use however much you would like to.
- 1Peel the garlic cloves and cut them into small pieces - the smaller the pieces the quicker they will dry.
- 2The next step is to place those pieces into a food dehydrator or oven.
- 3Set the temperature of the oven or food dehydrator to 150 degrees Fahrenheit or 65℃.
- 4Leave the garlic to dry. This will probably take a couple of hours depending on the size of the pieces of garlic.
- 5When you feel that the garlic slices are dry, try to crush them. If you can do so with your fingers and without any effort, that means, the slices are really dry now and are ready for the next step.
- 6Leave until cool.
- 7Grind your garlic into a fine powder. This can be done with a coffee grinder, spice grinder, mortar and pestle, high speed blender or a food processor.
- 8Pour your powdered garlic into an airtight jar.
- 9Keep it in a dry and cool place.
- 10It’s a good idea to shake the jar every day for the next seven days from the point/days of making. It will help you to distribute any remaining moisture evenly through the garlic powder and hopefully prevent mold from growing in the future.
Further Tips Related To Garlic Powder Preparation Process
Although garlic is available to most of us all year round, you should try to make your garlic powder when it is in season. This will mean you’re getting fresh garlic of the highest quality and (if you’re buying it) it will be cheaper when in season too. The garlic season is usually from around the end of Summer or early Autumn/Fall.
Cutting your garlic cloves into very thin slices or even mincing them up fine and small will help to speed up the drying process.
If you want to keep the smell of the raw garlic away from your house, you’ll want to use a dehydrator rather than your oven. That way you can put your dehydrator in the garage or work shed so as not to stink up your house! There’s no doubt about it, garlic has a very strong odor. If you don’t have a food dehydrator and need to use your oven, just do it on a day when you’re not expecting visitors!
While you can use a coffee grinder for the grinding process, we wouldn’t recommend it unless it’s a coffee grinder you don’t plan to use for coffee again. They can be difficult to clean and the strong garlicky smell may linger and spoil the taste of your future coffee! We’d recommend a food processor or blender for this process.
Consider reusing your old spice jars instead of buying new jars to store your garlic powder. It’s cost effective and better for the environment to recycle and reuse where we can. Just remember to stick a label on it so you know what’s in it and when it was made.
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How To Make Garlic Salt At Your Home?
To make your garlic salt, you will need some garlic powder and salt.
If you’ve got garlic powder and salt in your kitchen then there’s no need to rush out and buy garlic salt - you can easily make your own garlic salt at home with just these two ingredients.
- 1Mix up three parts table salt (any sort of salt would do the job) with one part of garlic powder.
- 2Then, put the mixture in any airtight container you have.
- 3Store the container in a dry and cool place.
- 4Make sure to label the jar so that you know what’s in it and when it was made.
So, ultimately we’ve established that garlic powder and garlic salt are similar but different! You can use them interchangeably although you may need to adjust the salt in your recipe accordingly. If you had to pick just one to keep on hand, garlic powder would be more useful as you can easily turn garlic powder into garlic salt by simply adding salt.
Both garlic powder and garlic salt can be made at home with a pretty simple process, however, the drying process can take some time and your house will smell of garlic for a while. Both are cheap and easy to buy at the supermarket so you’d need to weigh up your options on whether it is worthwhile to make your own or just buy it pre-prepared. Arguments for making your own at home would be that then you would know that there are no additives in it. Also, if you grow your own garlic and can’t use it all at once, it would be good to dry it and turn it into powder to preserve it for later use.
So, whether store bought or homemade, both garlic powder and garlic salt are handy seasonings to have in your herb and spice collection as they can help to add that wonderful garlicky aroma and taste we all know and love. They’re cheap and convenient and oh so tasty! If you’re not ready to make your own and would like the convenience of having it delivered to your door, you can buy garlic powder here and garlic salt here.
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