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Sep 13, 2002 01:23 PM

garlic powder vs. minced garlic?

  • c

my boyfriend is a big fan of using garlic powder in recipes when we are too lazy (which is often) to mince garlic ourselves or when we run out of the pre-minced in a jar. of course you can't fry it up in a pan, but when is it okay to use garlic powder vs. minced? how much powder is equivalent to how much minced (say, what's the equivalent of a minced teaspoon)? any thoughts helpful!

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  1. They're two, very different flavors. One really isn't a substitute for the other.

    1. Fresh garlic and garlic powder are not substitutes for each other, but there are times when garlic powder is better than fresh. For example in dips like a horseradish cream sauce for steak or dip for crudite, garlic powder can be the perfct flavoring. Also sprinkled on french fries or other fried stuff.

      Bottled minced garlic is probably the worst alternative. A better shortcut is to buy the cloves already peeled and simply chop them. The other stuff has additives and tastes old.

      The food I eat most often at home is pasta with butter, garlic powder, parm cheese salt and pepper. It's my ultimate comfort food, an it's not cheating, it's just good.

      1 Reply
      1. re: jake pine

        Jake, I'm fond of that simple pasta, too, but I make mine with olive oil, saute-ing slices of garlic in the oil. I also sometimes add a dusting of grated lemon zest and/or parsley, too.

        I'm sure I'd like it as well or better with butter, but I'm making some effort to reduce sat fat. If only pie crust were as satisfactory with oil. Sigh.

      2. I agree w/the others. You may save a minute or two with the powder, but I don't think that the loss in quality is worth the few moments you save. Also, some folks use a garlic press to save time, but I've found that the time you spend later cleaning it amounts to more time than you spend by mincing by hand. Don't get me started on the bottled "pre-minced " garlic. Yuck!

        5 Replies
        1. re: Jim

          I agree. All jarred, pre-minced garlic always tastes rancid. Never had a good experience with it.

          How do they get away with that?

          1. re: 2chez mike

            Just chiming in on the pre-minced. Only took one jar to teach me that lesson. I would use powder 10 times before I would use that stuff.

          2. re: Jim

            I'm not sure what the anti-powder sentiment is all about. Garlic powder is simply ground, dried garlic. You can make it at home very simply. It's not like there are lots of chemicals and preservatives added. It should not be used as a replacement for garlic, but it has its functions.

            1. re: jake pine

              Jake Pine is not someone I will quibble with about cooking, but I will amplify.

              I agree that the powder is useful in dry rubs and a few other limited circumstances. Part of the problem with the powder, of course, is that much of what is found on the shelves is too old. Not too many people make their own fresh garlic powder. :)

              That said, I'd like to add garlic is a basic cooking ingredient in several cuisines. Aside from issues of freshness, it is particularly sensitive to the techniques of employing it and will give vastly different flavor results depending upon how it is mashed, minced, sliced, etc. and how or if it is cooked.

              As for the pre-minced garlic, isn't there a fear that if not used immediately upon opening it might cause botulism? I wouldn't use it, taste issues aside.

              Why do people fuss so about mincing a few cloves of garlic for the recipes best made with fresh garlic? And when many cloves are called for there's always the processor.

              1. re: saucyknave

                I think that the level of salt and acid they process garlic with nowadays eliminates any chance of botulism forming, when it is properly stored.

                These same additives also prevent it from having the same cooking and eating qualities as fresh garlic.

                I prefer crushed garlic to chopped. I have a small marble mortar and pestle I use for a clove or two, and a giant plastic Korean one that makes short work of a dozen.

          3. Wow. I go through so much garlic, peeling and chopping is almost second nature and doesn't seem like a chore at all. I'd never even consider an alternative. Although I use garlic powder in my dry-rub.

            4 Replies
            1. re: GG Mora

              Good point. The few legitimate uses of garlic powder might be in dry rubs and in certain (perhaps idiosyncratic) cajun spice mixes.

              1. re: GG Mora

                Garlic powder is, also like you say, good when you use it in dry rub. I also use it on pizza dough. Spray with olive oil, dust it with garlic powder, and then add a few more toppings if you like (no sauce). The flavor of the powder, I think, is more concentrated than your jarred cloves.

                I agree, it doesn't seem a chore for me to use fresh garlic either if I use a garlic press. (unpainted metal one will help get rid of the smell on your hands when you rub the metal with your hands and water. And, cleaning the garlic press is as easy if you use a bottle brush and just stick the bristles into the holes (although many presses come with a plastic "cleaner" that pokes through the holes). The technique I use is to cut the clove at the blunt end and peel back the skin (two or three peels), then pressit and slice it off the press with a knife as it comes out. Also, the skins should not be put in the garbage disposal, just trash 'em.

                Okay, well, that does sound complicated if you're not trained and beat to boot.

                What is a chore is when Keith asks me slice it real thin and then insert it into little slits in the meat - God, I hate doing that!

                There is no flavor like fresh garlic, IMO. I even wait to add it near the end of any saute dish because ccoking it like that changes the flavor, adds a little bitterness.

                1. re: kc girl

                  I always brush the pizza dough with olive oil, then rub in freshly crushed garlic. A completely different experience.

                2. I avoid garlic powder for two reasons:

                  1. I prefer the taste of fresh garlic.

                  2. Garlic powder has a much worse and longer-lasting effect on one's breath than fresh garlic.