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I have a container of minced garlic similar to this:

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My question is can I mince fresh garlic, then allow it to dry on a plate and add it to the container? Or is there a special way of preparing this for reasons of taste or safety (molds, bacteria, etc)?

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Quick answer: NO. I'm sure those with much more knowledge of food safety than I will be along shortly to explain why that's a very bad idea. –  Carey Gregory Aug 21 '13 at 4:50
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@CareyGregory I believe you are thinking of the risks in preserving garlic in a moist state, as in canned, or submerged in oil, where as a low acid food it is at risk for botulism (especially since the cloves are from underground, where the spores are likely). I cannot find any documentation of risk for dried garlic. –  SAJ14SAJ Aug 21 '13 at 10:54
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2 Answers

You probably do not want to simply dry it on a plate, as it may mold or spoil prior to drying.

When I checked the National Center for Home Food Preservation, I was unable to find any information on drying garlic. I was also unable to find a single University Extension that provided instructions on safe methods for drying garlic.

If you google homemade dried garlic, you will find multiple recipes and methods, although powdering is more common than mincing. None of these recipes or methods come from the most reputable sources, so use them at your own risk.

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Your first sentence is what I had in mind. Simply leaving it to dry on a plate seems like a very bad idea. –  Carey Gregory Aug 21 '13 at 17:26
    
Surely just drying it in a dehydrator is safe as drying anything else! –  Jefromi Aug 21 '13 at 18:03
    
@Jefromi Probably so but I was unable to find positive documentation of safety specifically regarding garlic. –  SAJ14SAJ Aug 21 '13 at 18:06
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I find that garlic, left whole and kept out of the refrigerator, keeps for months. I keep mine in a cookie tin once it is dry. Mince it when you need it, and use the freshly minced garlic in the same way you're using the dry. Don't try to dry minced garlic yourself. There's no benefit for you, and plenty of risk.

Instructions for oil-preserved garlic go on and on about botulism, which can be in anything that had ground contact, and which we cannot detect by smell or sight, unlike mould or other forms of spoiling. Risking that just so you can do all the mincing at once instead of as you need the garlic does not seem like a good idea.

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How long will it keep IN the refrigerator? I like the jug of minced garlic because its easy to add several spoons, for instance, to a pickle jar for visual appeal (similar to mustard seeds). I have powdered, granulated, minced and I use them about equally. Fresh garlic is often too strong (even after cooked), its not fun to peel, and leaves my fingers sticky. –  Randy Aug 21 '13 at 12:46
    
it lasts less time in the refrigerator. –  Kate Gregory Aug 21 '13 at 12:50
    
@Randy Add a few drops of water when you're mincing garlic. It eliminates the stickiness on the knife and cutting board and also on your fingers. –  Carey Gregory Aug 21 '13 at 17:25
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