Garlic salt consists of garlic powder and salt. It may also contain an anti-caking agent like calcium stearate. In most cases, commercial garlic powders are made by chopping cloves of garlic and pulverizing the pieces. Those pieces are then dehydrated. They may then be subjected to further chopping and mincing until the particles achieve the desired size.
Garlic is believed to have originated in Middle Asia, though there is little agreement on where exactly in that part of the world. It has been in use for thousands of years, both for flavoring food and as a medicine. It has been an essential element in both Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine.
The inventor of garlic powder and the point in history at which it was invented is most likely lost to time. Garlic salt was probably invented shortly after that point as someone combined the two popular flavorings out of convenience.
Garlic salt flavor profile
While many experienced cooks may scoff at the use of garlic salt over fresh garlic, it can provide the desired flavor in many foods. Note that the complexity of fresh garlic may be somewhat muted in garlic salt and it will not be possible to increase the garlic flavor without also increasing the salt content.
Health benefits of garlic salt
There is more to garlic salt than its flavor. This simple spice blend is actually good for you when used in moderation. It contains nutrients like:
- Minerals: The garlic powder in garlic salt is rich in iron with a two-tablespoon portion providing about 14 percent of what you need each day. Getting sufficient iron is important for preventing anemia as it helps your tissues to get fuel. Garlic is also a good source of copper and you get more than 20 percent of your daily copper requirement from two tablespoons. Copper is needed to maintain nervous system function and so that your body can produce neurotransmitters. Garlic salt is also a good source of manganese and phosphorous. Your body uses manganese to develop and maintain bones and it uses phosphorus for kidney health.
- Vitamin B6: While garlic salt does contain less vitamin B6 than raw garlic, it is still a source of this nutrient. Vitamin B6 is necessary for metabolizing fats and proteins.
- Essential amino acids: The garlic powder in garlic salt provides fair amounts of essential amino acids like leucine, tryptophan and histidine. Leucine is important for muscle growth while tryptophan helps with mood regulation and sleep. Histidine is important for forming different proteins in the body.
The compounds in garlic salt can help to treat or prevent various health conditions including:
- Heart disease: Garlic has been shown to impact various factors in heart disease including cholesterol, inflammation and blood pressure. Studies on the efficacy of different forms of garlic (crushed, granulated and raw) found no major differences between the three when it came to heart disease benefits.
- Infections: Garlic powder has numerous components that protect against bacterial and viral infections as well as against fungi and parasites.
- Constipation: The garlic powder used in garlic salt is a good source of dietary fiber, which means that it can help with the passage of stool through the gastrointestinal tract.
Common uses of garlic salt
Like garlic powder, garlic salt is ideal for meat rubs. It is a powder, just like the other ingredients in rub blends and is therefore easy to measure and to apply. It is also a convenient way to add two spices at once, which is important if you are trying to cook quickly. In addition, the consistency of garlic salt makes it the perfect seasoning for popcorn and roasted nuts.
Photo by John Phelan – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link