Here’s a question for you guys. If Dracula can’t see his own reflection, why is his hair always so neat? Joking aside, you’ll be keeping the vampires away all night with what we are discussing today. We are talking garlic, specifically, garlic powder vs garlic salt. Believe it or not, there is quite a big difference, and you don’t want to use the wrong one. We will look at these differences and when you might want to use one or the other.
Is Garlic Powder the Same as Garlic Salt?
In a word, no. Garlic powder is definitely not the same as garlic salt. Okay, so they both contain garlic, but some subtle differences will change how and when you use them. Instead of going through a boring old list, why don’t we take a little look at what garlic powder and garlic salt are, and then you can see the difference for yourself?
What is Garlic?
Garlic is actually the bulb of a flowering plant… It shares a common lineage with other vegetables and herbs. These include things like shallots, leeks, chives, and our favorite, the trusty onion! If you ever wanted to know why garlic and onion work so well together in cooking, this is the reason!
Garlic contains a lot of sulfurous compounds. It is one of the things that give it a distinctive flavor… It is also one of the things that make your work colleagues and partners avoid you after you’ve tucked into a large portion of garlic bread.
And it isn’t just about garlic breath, either. Garlic actually also contains a compound called Allyl methyl Sulfide. This can’t be digested by the human body and instead passes into your blood. The only way your body can get rid of it is to sweat it out.
Garlic sweat? Nice!
Garlic has existed for thousands of years and was first cultivated in central and southeast Asia. It has many different names. Our favorite is the term ‘stinking rose’.
Want a little garlic fact?
Did you know that China produces over three-quarters of the world’s garlic! If you want to know how much that is, it equates to about 22 million tons! That’s a lot of garlic!
What is Garlic Salt?
The clue is in the name. If you want to know what is in ‘garlic salt’, you already have the answer. It is just a matter of proportions. Garlic salt is a mixture of garlic powder combined with salt.
Doesn’t the garlic go rotten?
Not at all. Garlic salt keeps almost indefinitely. The reason for this is that salt is a wonderful preservative. It soaks up moisture, which bacteria need to thrive. Therefore, garlic salt lasts for a very long time.
The proportions are important. You’ll tend to find that garlic salt comprises around 1 part garlic powder to every three parts salt.
What is Garlic Powder?
Garlic powder is different than garlic salt. It all has to do with how it is made. Remember we said that garlic salt is made up of powder and salt? This isn’t the case with garlic powder.
Garlic powder is pretty much pure garlic. It is just in a different form. It is made by dehydrating fresh garlic cloves. This is normally done by slowly drying garlic cloves until all the moisture is removed. Once this has been achieved, the cloves are ground up to a fine powder.
You’ll tend to find that garlic powder has a fairly delicate taste. It can be a little bit sweet, and often there is a fair hint of bitterness running through it. Because of its mild taste, garlic powder is great as an additive to many dishes. It is most often found in Asian dishes.
Can I Make my Own Garlic Salt?
You most certainly can. In fact, there are a few ways to do it! There are a couple of methods if you want to create your own garlic salt at home.
The first method is to use fresh garlic cloves. Take a whole bulb of garlic and crush in a garlic press. You want to decant this paste into a small bowl which you are going to weigh. Remember we said that in garlic salt, it is all about the proportions? Whatever your garlic paste weighs, add three times the amount of salt and give it a good stir before tipping the entire mixture into an airtight container.
The other alternative is to incorporate garlic powder with salt. This is much milder (and we think it is much less tasty). Because this uses garlic powder, you don’t need to mess about weighing. In a small bowl, add one part of garlic powder and three parts salt. As long as you get the ratios right, it doesn’t matter what measuring device you use, be that a teaspoon, a tablespoon, or even a cup…
A cup? Would you like a mint?
Can I Make Garlic Powder at Home?
You can have a go at making garlic powder at home too. This is a lovely little recipe that will infuse your house with wonderful smells. But we must warn you, it takes a little time and patience.
Take a whole bulb of garlic and peel each clove. Slice the cloves in half and place them cut side down on a piece of baking parchment. Place this parchment on a baking tray. Once you have done this, put the oven on its lowest possible setting and place the tray inside. Leave the door cracked open slightly using a wooden spoon (we use a chopstick).
What you are going to do from here is heat the garlic in the oven at a very low temperature. It won’t cook, but what it will do is dry out. This normally takes between 4 and 6 hours. Once the garlic has dried, throw it into a blender and give it a good whizz. Voila! Homemade garlic powder!
If you’ve got a drier or food dehumidifier, then this process is super simple.
You’ll probably find that homemade garlic powder tastes much stronger and is more fragrant than the store-bought variety. It also makes a great gift if you pop some in a little jar!
What is Garlic Salt Good for?
Garlic salt is super tasty. Garlic is delicious, and salt is a well-known flavor enhancer. But you have to be careful.
Again, the clue is in the name. Garlic salt. If you want to add a hint of garlicky goodness to your food, you could consider using garlic salt, but it comes with a caveat. Be sure to not include it in addition to any other salt listed in a recipe. Otherwise, you may find that your food is unbearably salty!
You can use garlic salt in just about any recipe that calls for regular salt. Here are some ideas that work great with garlic salt:-
- As a meat marinade or rub
- Salad dressings
- Roasted vegetables
- Chinese dishes
- Sauces and gravies
- Roasted potatoes
What is Garlic Powder Good for?
Garlic powder can be an absolute lifesaver when you haven’t got any fresh garlic in the house. We tend to find that 2 teaspoons of garlic powder equate to about the same level of garlickiness as a single clove of garlic.
You can use garlic powder in all of the above dish ideas.
Garlic powder can be particularly good if you’ve got a dish that already contains a lot of salt.
Can I use Garlic Powder Instead of Garlic Salt?
You most certainly can. In fact, given a choice, this is what we would recommend. Because of the proportions of salt in garlic salt, you are kind of limited as to how much you can include in a single dish. Essentially you are placing a cap on how much garlic flavor you can impart to your dish.
With garlic powder, you don’t have this problem. You can use a teaspoon or a whole jar if you feel that you need to (you are afraid of vampires, aren’t you?)
Garlic Powder vs Garlic Salt: Which is Best?
That’s a tricky question. The true answer is that it depends entirely on what you are using it for. For those trying to cut out sodium or salt in their diet, garlic powder would be the better choice. Also, if you don’t want your dish to be too overpowering, garlic powder’s milder flavor makes it much easier to control.
If you had a choice in the store as to which to buy, we’d definitely recommend going with garlic powder.
Remember when discussing garlic powder vs garlic salt, both contain garlic powder, the only difference being that garlic salt also contains, well, salt. If you buy garlic powder and have salt at home, you can make garlic salt any time you need it. Effectively by buying a jar of garlic powder, you’ve got the means to have garlic powder on its own and the option of making garlic salt as and when you need it!
Is Garlic Powder as Good as Fresh Garlic?
Look, we want to be as honest as we can with you guys. Don’t get us wrong, we absolutely love garlic powder. Still, when it comes to the question of garlic powder vs real garlic, there is definitely a clear winner.
Fresh garlic is by far the better option! It tastes stronger, is full of good things, and makes your dishes richer in garlic flavor.
However, if you haven’t got any fresh garlic, then garlic powder is by no means a poor substitute. You might find that your dish isn’t as strong-tasting. All that said, this might be exactly what you want to achieve.
There are some other areas where garlic powder wins over fresh garlic.
First, it is much easier to measure when it comes to quantities. Garlic bulbs come in all different shapes and sizes. When a recipe calls for a clove of garlic, how do you know how big that is supposed to be? By being able to measure using teaspoons, garlic powder is much easier to judge.
Garlic powder also stays good much longer than fresh garlic. Look, we’ve all been there, about to cook up a treat. We go to the store cupboard, pull out our bag of garlic bulbs, only to discover that they have decided to sprout green shoots! (As an aside, if you are really desperate, you can still use this garlic, in fact, you can even eat the green bits, and they are delicious as a garnish).
There is one area that we really think you need to be aware of when it comes to using garlic powder instead of fresh garlic. Let’s talk about the heat.
Have you ever fried and tasted garlic that has gone slightly brown?
How was it?
We reckon it tasted burned and really bitter? If this sounds familiar, or you will be cooking a dish over high heat, then garlic powder could be the answer. It isn’t prone to burning, unlike fresh garlic.
Are There Any Health Benefits in Garlic Powder?
Garlic has plenty of health benefits. It doesn’t just taste great. It has medicinal properties. It is also jam-packed full of minerals and vitamins such as iron, potassium, and phosphorous! Garlic has been proven to reduce the risk of heart attacks, and it is rumored that it also has lots of anti-cancer properties!
When thinking about garlic powder vs garlic salt, they are both really tasty. They both have their specific uses. Garlic powder is the most versatile of the two ingredients, and you can even use it to make garlic salt another time. If you spot a jar when you are out at the store, buy it! You can also use it as a great fresh garlic substitute! What do you make with garlic powder or garlic salt? Which do you prefer? Let us know in the comments!