Last year I began to use garlic cloves in cooking various meals, finding it very easy to use. Flattening the clove with my knife loosens up the skin, and after removing it I can dice up the garlic and add it to my meat or vegetables, and it smells awesome! Previously I've used garlic salts or powders, and still do use them from time to time, depending on what I'm cooking up. The other day, a blogger friend alerted me to the fact that when she looked for garlic powder in the grocery store, every kind she picked up was made in CHINA!
WHAT?!?! I could hardly believe this - no one in the USA is qualified to make garlic powder? That just isn't right! I researched it briefly on the internet, and even though garlic is grown in the United States, the stores seem to only stock the biggest name brands, or the most economically priced brands. China is the largest producer and exporter of garlic products.
I did find a site for buying California grown garlic powders and products online. Click HERE to visit and browse. It is called Garlic Festival, and indeed, it IS a festival! It is reported that the entire town smells of wonderful garlics, and I'm sure every product you've ever dreamed of, and some you never THOUGHT OF, can be found at their online shop! When you live in America, buy American. This is important especially now, during the current recession.
If you prefer to "grow your own", here's a short blurb I found somewhere (I forgot to capture the link - sorry!) on making garlic powder to store and use at home:
When great garlic begins to go soft in storage, it's time to make garlic powder. To prepare this multipurpose seasoning from scratch, first peel the garlic cloves. Then cut them into thin slices and put in a dry pan. Place the pan in a 150 degree oven to dry the garlic, turning the slices often. Grind the dried slices in a blender, then sift the material through a strainer to separate the chunks from the finer powder. (The chunks taste great on pizza.) Use your homemade powder on any food that can benefit from a concentrated shot of garlic flavor. Store the chunks or garlic powder in airtight jars kept in a cool place, or freeze for long-term storage.
I heard garlic usage may reduce blood pressure. If a person is afraid of bad breath, garlic capsules are available in health food stores. Garlic is ALSO great as a natural dewormer for chickens - fed with chopped pumpkin seeds, the crushed and chopped garlic can be fed tossed with cottage cheese and bread crumbs - my hens gobble it right up!