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Spotlight Spice: Garlic

When you shop for garlic, you’ve got some choices to make. Do you want minced, granulated, or powdered? How about regular garlic vs. roasted garlic? In this week’s Spotlight Spice we’re going to share all of the pungent, garlicky details with you to help you choose what’s best for your kitchen.

Why use dried garlic vs. fresh garlic?

We like to keep both on hand. Dried garlic is handy to have around because it has the flavor of fresh, but doesn’t spoil, doesn’t linger on your hands/utensils, and is easy to grab to get just the amount you need. We use fresh when we need a whole clove or are planning to smoosh it into a paste.

What’s best, regular or roasted garlic?

Our regular dried garlic tastes like…wait for it…garlic!  We think of dried roasted garlic as regular old garlic’s much more mellow cousin. Why? Because when garlic is roasted, the high temperature tames its naturally pungent flavor and sharpness, leaving behind a smooth, almost sweet flavor.

Deciding which to use really comes down to personal preference. Most members of the AllSpice team like to keep both around and use whichever feels right for their recipe, but it’s perfectly fine to choose the one that suits you best and use it in anything that calls for garlic.

Minced, granulated, and powdered…what’s the difference?

Both our regular and roasted garlics come in granulated or powdered form. We also carry a minced form of the regular garlic.

As you’d expect, minced is chunky, just like freshly minced garlic. We use minced in situations where we’d typically use fresh minced garlic. Try it in marinades, soups, and sauces. We often reconstitute it before use – especially in recipes with tomatoes or other acidic ingredients. To do this, just measure out what you need and place it in a small dish. Add hot water until it’s just covered, then allow to stand for 2-4 minutes. The dried minced garlic will absorb the water and be ready for use. As a side note, we prefer reconstituting our dry garlic as we use it vs. using a "ready-to-use" minced garlic (it's usually in a jar) you can buy at the grocery store. Most of those options contain a variety of preservatives, which can sometimes leave it with a funny taste.

Granulated and powdered forms are somewhat interchangeable, and we typically use them in recipes where we don’t want to visually see pieces of garlic. For us, powdered really means powdered (visualize the consistency of cinnamon powder). Powdered garlic light and plumy – it’ll float through the air. The powdered variety tends to be slightly more potent than the granulated and is good for foods with a short cook time as it imparts its flavor more quickly than granulated or minced.

The granulated form is heavier and visually looks like granules of salt (note that it does not contain salt – for that, see our Garlic Salt/Roasted Garlic Salt). Granulated garlic is less likely to become clumpy, especially when mixed with liquids. We prefer the granulated variety when mixing with other spices to create a rub or spice blend because it tends to be easier to thoroughly combine than powder.

Now that you know the differences, which is your go-to garlic? Find them all in the shop or online at allspiceonline.com/shop.

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