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Simple Gourmet: How To Peel Garlic

by | Nov 23, 2008

It came as a bit of a shock for me to learn that some people hate peeling garlic so much they have completely given up using it.

Sure the flavor is strong, but almost all cooks consider garlic indispensable. If peeling it is your problem, don’t fret! This one little trick makes garlic a cinch to peel.

First, remove single cloves from a very fresh garlic bulb (garlic is cheap, you should buy it every week). I rarely use more than one or two when cooking for two people.

Next, place the garlic clove on a cutting board oriented so that its curve is pointed upward, or at least sideways. There may be space beneath the clove, which is good. Grab a wide blade knife, such as a chef’s knife or santoku knife. Rest the flat end of the blade on the top of the garlic (as shown) and hit the top with the palm of your hand once or twice, quickly and firmly.

The impact will slightly crush the garlic clove while the outer skin retains its shape and becomes dislodged. Examine the clove and remove as much of the skin as you can (usually all of it). If some skin remains stuck to the clove hit it a few more times, using a bit more force. It does not matter if you damage the garlic.

Use the knife to cut off the hard end that attached the clove to the bulb. This may help to remove any remaining skin as well. If you still have some skin stuck to the clove, it should be easy to pick off at this point. If not, smash it a couple more times.

Recipes often called for minced garlic, so after I peel my clove I often crush it completely then make thin slices along the length, then width. Scrape off any pieces of garlic sticking to the side of the knife then quickly mince the remaining chunks. This entire process takes less than 1 minute.

It is a great idea to prepare your garlic at least 10-15 minutes before you plan to cook with it, something that makes it substantially healthier.

I can’t imagine this being any easier, but I am always happy to hear your suggestions and comments!

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