One simple kitchen task that often leaves people scratching their heads, or searching for other options is the job of peeling garlic. Most of us prefer the flavor that fresh cloves provide, but few of us enjoy the task of removing the skin. It is a sticky and stinky job, but it is the perceived difficulty that has most of us going about it the hard way, or resorting to expensive, already peeled cloves that can be found at the grocery store. If cost is not an issue, then a bag or jar of peeled and ready to go ingredients can be really convenient, but it will never be quite as fresh, and most people don’t fall under the money is no object category. For the rest of us, we are tasked with removing the skin in the best way possible because we all know that dried out particles of dust are just not as yummy.
CLOVE OR BULB?
First things first. Many people are not even sure what a clove is. It is not the whole chunk of garlic that you will buy at the store. The whole thing is referred to as a bulb, and each of the smaller parts that combine to form the bulb, are the actual cloves. Each garlic bulb will have several cloves, and in most cases you will not use all of them at once, and you probably will not find yourself peeling a whole bulb for a single recipe. For a typical dish, you will simply separate the number of cloves necessary, and then save the rest for later.
There is one main technique that is used and recommended by chefs, and then two other techniques that are lesser known, and not used as much. After you review the three “regular” ways, keep on reading to find out about the simply good way, and you will discover a simple and effective method to get the job done, and also avoid the stink.
1. Beat It
This is the most popular way to peel garlic. It is not all that easy, and it will require some practice to perfect the technique. Once you get it down though, it is an effective way to perform the task, and it will get easier each time you do it. You will need a large chef knife in order to do it properly, so if you are used to chopping veggies with a steak knife, this may not be the option you were looking for. With this technique, you really need to do one at a time, so if you want to prep multiple pieces, it would take a long time. To peel garlic like a master chef, simply follow these steps:
- First get you bulb, and break off a clove or two.
- Cut off the root end of the clove using your knife, and then place the clove flat on a cutting board.
- Now take the side of you knife, with the blade pointing away from you body, and rest it gently on top of the clove.
- To remove the paper thin skin, simply apply direct downward pressure, or for more fun, beat on it with your fist.
- This direct, even pressure will squish the garlic, and cause the useful portion to separate from the outer casing.
- Now simply pick the skin away and dispose of it, and you have fresh garlic to mince, grate or press as you see fit.
2. Soak It
The second method that a lot of people opt for is the soak method. You will not look as cool doing it, so if friends or family are watching, you may want to choose the method above. This method does allow you to mostly avoid the stickiness, and you will be able to do it if you don’t have a large knife on hand. By soaking for a short period of time, the skin will loosen to make it easy to peel off. This method is pretty simple, and does not require very many steps. Your cloves will be slightly wet when finished, but that should not have an effect on the flavor. The main downside to this technique would be the time that it takes, and the necessity to dirty a bowl. If you need to do several pieces, you can certainly soak them all at once, but you would have to remove the peels individually. To use the soaking method, just follow these simple steps:
- Get a small bowl, and fill it with water. You need one large enough to fully submerge your piece(s) of garlic.
- Now simply plod in your cloves and let them sit for about five minutes.
- Once they have soaked for a bit, you should be able to see the skin getting loose.
- After 5-10 minutes, pull out the clove of garlic, cut off the root end, and then remove the skin with your hands. It should basically slip right off.
3. Nuke It
The final method that people often use to make peeling garlic easy is to put it in the microwave. This technique works much the same way that soaking it does, so it will not actually take the skin off, just make it easier to peel by hand. The upside to doing it this way verses the water bath, would be time. A microwave should produce faster results. You may still have to dirty a dish when doing it this way, but you could also just use paper towel for a faster clean up. It is not clear if nuking it will remove flavor or nutrients, but that is something to think about when attempting this technique. If you need to do multiple pieces, you can heat them all at once, although you will want to extend the time they spend in there. When it comes time for taking the skin off, you will have to do it one at a time, so several will take you longer. To loosen the skin by using the microwave, simply follow these steps:
- Separate off a clove, and place it on a microwave safe dish or paper towel.
- Place it in the microwave, and then heat on high for about 10 seconds.
- Because microwave power will vary, you may need to use more time, but be careful not to cook the clove, as that will make working with it more difficult after the peel is removed.
- Once heated, remove the clove and cut off the inedible end.
- After the end is chopped of the skin should slip free, and it will usually come off in one, easy to remove chunk.
THE FAST AND EASY WAY
- You will need a garlic peeler tube. We sell a good quality one for a shockingly low price.
- Separate the cloves off the bulb, and place as many as you need into the tube. You can do just one, or you can peel several at once.
- Once in the tube, place on a flat surface like your counter top, and then simply press down, and roll back and forth for a few seconds.
- You will hear the crackly skin peel away from the good part.
- Once the skin comes off, it will sort of stick to the inside of the tube as it separates from the clove.
- Now simply lift the tube off your counter, and then tip it down to watch the perfectly peeled garlic drop out.
- All skin will be off the clove, and most will be held inside the tube. To dispose of it, simply tap it over the trash can and the skin will drop right in.