This Garlic Powder Hack Is A Flavor Game Changer

When used correctly, garlic powder can be a culinary savior. You don't have to go through the grueling process of peeling and chopping garlic or stress over trying not to burn it. You won't have to worry about your house smelling like garlic or resort to all sorts of tricks like using a stainless steel soap bar to get rid of the smell of garlic from your hands either. But, if you think that garlic powder may be a rip-off of fresh garlic — a second-grade substitute meant to be used only in times of an extreme garlic shortage crisis — this hack will make you think again. 

According to Cook's Illustrated, you might not be making the most of all the flavor that garlic powder has to offer. The site explains that you need to hydrate garlic powder in equal amounts of water before you use it. This will bring out the powder's fullest flavor in your cooking!

How does the hack work?

Garlic contains the amino acid alliin and the enzyme alliinase, according to Cook's Illustrated. These two react with each other to produce allicin, the compound that gives garlic its delicious garlicky flavor. When producing garlic powder, the site says that garlic is dried at a temperature high enough to remove all its water content but not high enough to damage the alliinase present in it. When dehydrated of all water, alliinase exists in garlic powder, albeit in an inactive state.

An experiment done by Cook's Illustrated found that it is only after you add water to dehydrated garlic powder that the dormant alliinase "wakes up" and starts producing allicin to give garlic powder its punchy and complex flavor. When you add garlic powder as a seasoning directly to your pan on high heat, the alliinase actually gets destroyed. This is probably why you may think of garlic powder to be bland, flat, and quite frankly, tasteless!

So, the next time you want to use garlic powder while cooking, make sure to follow this hack and rehydrate your powder first.