Posted by Farmer Sam | Posted in Cullinary | Posted on 12-02-2010
I didn’t do a lot of cost research this time, but my guess is that it is about the same as onion in the store ($2-3). I bought my garlic from Trader Joes in what were labled 3 ounce bags of organic garlic. I bought four packs (at $1.8 each) and it turned out that they were actually 4 ounces , so I began with one pound of garlic. After processing and drying I was left with 5.5 ounces. This means that garlic is about 66% water, and that, in this case, I paid $1.3 per ounce for my final product. This is higher than I had guessed, but not bad. Again, I’m sure one can find less expensive organic garlic along the way. In fact, last fall I took 16 square feet of my herb garden and commited it to garlic. So right now I have 25 cloves of garlic just waiting for spring to usher them above ground. If they all make it, that’s almost 140 ounces of garlic powder!
Farmers Note: This took way longer than the onions. I thought I’d knock out the 8 heads in 10 or 15 minutes by myself, but after one, I begged the Farmer’s Wife to help. Even with both of us working I think it took the better part of an hour to get them peeled, crushed and spread out in the dehydrator. On the flip side, that gave us an hour to talk about our garden this summer. Time well spent.
Posted by Farmer Sam | Posted in Cullinary | Posted on 11-02-2010
I love real food, both for flavor and for nutritional value. Herbs and spices are among the most powerful and most tasty of all foods. They are also among the most expensive by weight. With these three statements in mind, I have begun to experiment, seeing how inexpensively I can make some of the things I would typically buy pre-made. As I experiment, I will let you know what I find out, and offer any data or tips I think might help you on your way.
We did raise some herbs last summer, but I kept no records on those, so my first experiment for the blog was to make my own organic onion powder. I went to Jewel and saw that their upper-shelf brand was about $3 per ounce. Their cheapest one was about $1.4 per ounce. Neither of these were organic, and I’ve not priced organic from Whole Foods or Trader Joes, but I assume it’s somewhere around the upper range. So I scampered off to the produce section and found a 3 pound bag of organic onions for $3.5. So, the pre-dried cost was about 7.3¢ per ounce.
Apparently, onions are a lot of water held together by some very pungent fibers. Before I dried them, I guessed that they were 90% water, and I was startlingly close, but I guessed low. Each pound (16 ounces) yielded 1.5 ounces…so they’re actually about 91% water. Anyway, that brought the dried cost to about 78¢. In my book, that’s a victory. Keep in mind that the onions were not on sale. I’m sure I could find them cheaper, and over the summer I plan to grow my own. If you planted just a small crop of onions, you could keep yourself in almost-free onion powder for the whole year.
FarmersNote: It took very little time to process the onions; I peeled and quartered them, ran them through my food processor just a bit and then spread them out on parchment paper and put them in our dehydrator for 24 hours. Once dry, I just cracked them off into a canning jar. I haven’t actually whirred them up to make powder, as I’m only grinding it as we need it to keep it a peak freshness. A quick tip is to wear safety glasses with the wrap-around sides when preparing the onions; they work wonders preventing teary-eye syndrome.
Next up…garlic. It is in the dehydrator as we speak.