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When it comes to keeping garlic around the house, garlic flakes are a great way to add this tasty herb to recipes without having to go through the process of cleaning and mincing garlic cloves or bulbs. These flakes are simply dehydrated bits of garlic that can be stored for long periods of time and used in all sorts of foods.
The process for creating garlic flakes is a simple one. Bulbs of garlic are divided into cloves and stripped of the outer layers. The cloves are then minced into more or less uniform pieces, placed onto trays, and run through a dehydrating process to extract the liquid content from them. Once the drying process is complete, the garlic is spun through mesh that helps to create the flake sizes desired. The end result is ready for packaging and sale at any number of retail outlets.
It is possible to make this seasoning at home as well. Anyone who owns a dehydrator can easily mince the cloves and lay them out in a drying tray in the dehydration unit, following the same basic process that is used for drying fruit. Once the flakes are dehydrated, they can be wrapped in cheesecloth and broken into smaller flakes with the use of a hammer, if necessary.
Garlic flakes work very well in a number of applications. They can easily be added to soups and stews to add a bit of flavor, and fried ones added to a meat loaf also ensures an infusion of taste in the finished product. The flavor of casseroles can also be enhanced. Essentially, any recipe that includes cooking time and some sort of liquid is all that is needed. As the flakes absorb some of the juices or liquids during the cooking process, they release the garlic flavor, enhancing the overall taste of the dish.
Just about every supermarket will carry some form of garlic flakes along with garlic powder and salt. Health food markets often will carry ones made from organically grown garlic bulbs as well. They may be slightly more expensive than garlic salt, but the health benefits are much higher, since the contents are pure garlic and not mixed with salt or any other substance.