Tricks For Peeling Garlic Like A Pro

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When flu season rolls around, a few recipes are loyal standbys. Between chicken noodle soup and even Jell-O, having a great recipe at the ready for those sick days helps make them a little more palatable. After all, when you're not feeling well, one of the more difficult tasks is preparing a meal that isn't even appetizing to you.

That's why we love the unexpectedly delicious garlic soup. This one is a total win for those deep in virus recovery and your family members who remain virus-free. We love garlic soup for its star ingredient and many health benefits. Not to mention, a brothy soup is always a terrific way to stay hydrated during a sick spell.

Though we love this soup, it does have one particular challenge in the area of preparation. After all, there is a large amount of garlic in it. And though that certainly gives the soup its stellar taste and name, it will also make preparation a little challenging, especially if you're not feeling your best.

Home cooks and chefs alike often dread peeling garlic. It is sticky, stinky, and stubborn. Thankfully, a slew of solutions can make this chore a little simpler and perhaps even therapeutic. Various methods work well in many situations, but many are only helpful in specific situations. Therefore, before you dive in headfirst and start trying each method, be sure you know the final destination for your garlic and whether it needs to be smashed, sliced, or minced.

Soak the cloves overnight

While some of these methods can be done in pretty short order, this one will require a bit of planning ahead. However, this method requires minimal tools to get it done well. All you'll need is your garlic, a bowl, and some water. This ultra-simple trick restaurants use to peel garlic comes from Chef Nicholas Poulmentis.

Simply put the garlic cloves in a bowl of water and leave it to work its magic. After letting it hang out in the water overnight, the skin will loosen and peel or even fall off very easily. You can even leave that unpeeled garlic in the water and remove it as you need it. That's why this method works so well in a busy restaurant kitchen, but it could work in your home kitchen too.

We also like this trick when you are preparing larger meals and need fresh garlic for plenty of dishes. This is an easy way to keep nearly ready garlic right at hand when you need it for your recipes.

Blanch the garlic

Water is helpful in more than one way when it comes to peeling garlic. While leaving garlic in the water overnight is a great trick, if you need it done faster, Ina Garten's trick for peeling garlic makes the process so much faster.

Instead of just having the cloves sit in the water, you'll be blanching them to help loosen the peels. If you've never blanched before, you'll find the process to be quite easy. Begin by taking your bulb apart and getting your hot water going on high heat. In a separate bowl, mix cold water with ice. Let the hot water come to a nice rolling boil, and place your separated, unpeeled garlic cloves right in the water. Allow them to boil in the water for only 15 seconds, and then take those cloves out. Put them straight in the ice bath after the hot water.

That ice bath serves multiple purposes. It stops the boiling and cooking process and helps them cool off quicker. Once those cloves cool off, you'll find that they peel easily.

Shake it in a jar

If you're looking to get out a little frustration, there's even a way to take a bit out while preparing garlic. Chef Cassidee Dabney offers a trick that may just be the quickest and easiest way to peel garlic. As the executive sous chef at the famed Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee, Chef Dabney absolutely knows how to prepare ingredients properly and efficiently.

For this method, you won't need any water, just a Mason jar, knife, cutting board, and your garlic. First, get the garlic ready to be peeled by cutting off both ends. This helps loosen the peel to let that jar do its work. Then, put the garlic in your Mason jar, screw on the lid, and shake it a lot. In about 20 seconds, you'll have a bunch of peeled garlic ready to be used in your recipe or stored for future use. If you don't happen to have a Mason jar or something similar on hand, two bowls put together will also work well.

This can be a noisy process, but if it's a little loud, that means you're doing it right.

Crush each bulb

Sometimes, you're preparing a meal and don't want to make a big racket. When that's the case, shaking garlic in a jar, even for a short time, may not be something you want to do. It does, after all, make a fair amount of noise.

By crushing garlic instead of shaking, soaking, or boiling it, you can help remove the peel. For this method, you'll need your garlic (obviously), a large knife, and a cutting board. When it comes time to peel the garlic, take a bulb, lay it down on your cutting board, and place your knife down on top of the garlic with the broad side facing up. Press down with your hand's heel for the most pressure, and wait for a little crunch. When you feel a little release under your knife, you'll see that the garlic peel is starting to lift off your clove. Peeling it from there will be easy.

Please note that this method can mess with the appearance of your clove, so if you're hoping for perfect-looking minced or sliced garlic, this may not be the best peeling method for you to choose.

Microwave those cloves

Chef Lorena Garcia aims to bring the vibrant features of Latin cooking to the masses. She also brings excellent tricks and solutions to home cooks, so it's no wonder that this tip from Chef Garcia will change the way you peel garlic.

Like blanching your garlic, microwaving it for a very short amount of time helps loosen those peels. Chef Garcia recommends taking the bulb apart by separating the cloves, putting them on a microwave-safe plate, and setting the time for only 10 seconds. When you take out the garlic, you'll notice that those peels are nearly falling off, even after a short spin in the microwave.

We should note, however, that this method will slightly alter the flavor of your garlic and may even take the edge off. When those cloves are warmed in the microwave, steam is released, allowing that peel to withdraw from the garlic as cells begin to break down. According to NPR, this is what lets the peel come unattached.

Rub cloves with your hands

Spending time in the kitchen is very therapeutic for many people. In fact, some find the process to be something akin to meditation. Unfortunately, all of the tools can sometimes make you feel separated from the food you create. In instances like this, it's helpful to get back to basics. That's one of the reasons we love Alton Brown's tool-free method for peeling garlic.

For Brown's tip, remove each of your cloves from the bulb and rub them one by one between your hands. The friction and warmth of your hands help encourage those peels to come right off. We, like Brown, love the smell of garlic, but if it's not something you enjoy, you can use Martha Stewart's slick stainless steel trick to eliminate garlic odor from your hands. Begin by turning on your kitchen faucet and letting it come to a warm temperature. Then, run the water over your hands and a stainless steel knife blade. Gently run your garlic fingers across the knife, and the scent will disappear in no time.

Allow the garlic to rest

After peeling your garlic, an essential part of that garlic preparation process is allowing your garlic to rest. To this end, we recommend peeling your garlic early in your preparation process. This rest time is vital because when cooking with garlic, you want to give it time to realize its ability to benefit your overall health fully.

Nutrition Facts recommends giving your garlic a 10-minute calm-down period after peeling and cutting it before you add it to your meal. When you slice the garlic, you activate an enzyme that becomes allicin. This compound is an anticoagulant, which can also help fight cancer (per American Institute for Cancer Research). Of course, heat will start to take these qualities away, but if allowed to sit for a little longer and even come to something close to room temperature, you have a greater chance of being able to preserve some of that benefit.

Another way to ensure you're enjoying all this healthy goodness is by including more raw garlic in your diet. Consider adding it to a salad or as part of your juice regime. Even though garlic is rather strong, hidden behind veggies and fruit, you probably won't notice it in juice or smoothies.

Roast it

While many peeling methods allow you to peel garlic before cooking it, roasting garlic follows a different sequence. Oven-roasted garlic is a fabulous addition to nearly any dish that calls for garlic. We particularly enjoy it mixed into mashed potatoes and even stirred with butter for toast. After roasting your garlic once, you'll see how easy it is to elevate the raw garlic by roasting it up.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Then slice the top of your bulb and remove the top part to expose the flesh of the garlic bulbs. Take off that papery part that virtually falls off the bulb, and drizzle it with some olive oil and a little salt and pepper. Then, wrap that up nice and tight with aluminum foil and put it in your oven. It'll need at least 45 minutes to roast and transform fully.

Then, after removing your garlic, let it cool a little until you can comfortably handle it. To use the garlic, squeeze the bulb, and the garlic will slide right out like toothpaste. If you have cloves that are a little stubborn, you can also use a fork to hook the edge of the garlic clove and pull it right out.

Use a silicone garlic peeler

Since peeling garlic can be such a pain, there are even some tools out there created with the explicit purpose of making the peeling process just a little easier. Check out a silicone garlic peeler with a storage case for one of these creative solutions.

This unique device is relatively inexpensive and is specially designed to help keep those garlic peels inside but with enough room to allow the freshly peeled garlic clove to fall right out. Simply put unpeeled garlic cloves inside, and roll the peeler under your hand on a countertop a few times. After a few seconds, those peels will be completely removed, and your garlic will be ready to be sliced, diced, or crushed.

Cleanup is super easy with these peelers because a rinse will remove the peel, and you can also load it in your dishwasher. Plus, your hands can be free of that raw garlic smell.

Utilize a garlic press

While silicone peelers are useful, a garlic press is another gadget that does even more. You may know that a garlic press will smash your garlic, but you may not know that you can stop peeling your garlic before pressing it. It's easy to get blinded by what a device says it does and forget to notice the extra things it can do, too. This is why many people will peel their garlic before using a garlic press.

However, the good news is that you don't actually need to take the extra time to do this.

If your recipe calls for smashed garlic, simply put an unpeeled garlic clove in the device and press down. This will smash the garlic, release the clove's skin, and even remove the extra bits that can get left behind by a press. This trick will work smoothly unless you are preparing a large amount of garlic. If you notice the skin bunching up and blocking pressed garlic from coming out, pause between every few cloves to remove those leftover skins.

Pierce and bend your clove

While social media can sometimes cause problems, it is also an excellent place to learn new skills. TikTok, a social media platform in which users create, share, and view short videos, offers plenty of hacks or solutions to everyday problems, and there's even a solution floating around for peeling garlic using only a small knife.

For this popular garlic peeling hack, take your knife, pierce a clove on the slide, turn the blade, and pull out the clove (per TikTok). This method is simple, quite quick, and only requires a knife as an extra piece of equipment. Though many users attest to the effectiveness of this trick, not everyone agrees that it works as well as a simple knife turn.

Some recommend ensuring the garlic is very fresh for this to work, and others state that a few cloves need to be removed from the bulb first. Even still, this solution is worth a try if you're looking for a quick solution to the garlic peeling nuisance.

Cut off the root and smash the garlic bulb

We love TikTok for its entertainment and even occasional learning opportunity, but Reddit shares some of those qualities as well. With everything from Starbucks' secret menu recipes to cooking hacks, Reddit offers a few great ways to peel garlic successfully.

In a Reddit thread discussing some different ways to easily and quickly peel garlic, one Redditor makes a recommendation that takes a knife smash to a new level.

They recommend cutting the root or bulb area of your garlic and then giving it a good whack with the broad side of your knife. The result will be a garlic bulb that starts to lose its peel. When this works, it can remove a lot of peel at once, making this a helpful and efficient little trick. It can take a bit to learn just how hard to hit the bulb, but stick with it to discover how beneficial it can be to have this trick in your culinary toolbox.

Purchase it pre-peeled

Peeling garlic is often a necessary obstacle to preparing delicious savory dishes. However, in the end, if you feel as if peeling garlic is just too big of a chore, you can always choose to avoid it altogether. If that's the case, you really have three options — choose recipes that are garlic-free, omit the garlic, or purchase your garlic pre-peeled.

Just as garlic can come pre-minced, it can also come in bags or jars full of garlic, already peeled. This will help you save some time, but it will also be more expensive than buying fresh garlic and peeling, shaving, roasting, blanching, or microwaving it yourself. Spice World is a widely available brand, and its pre-peeled garlic comes in a large bag that will certainly be ready for even the most garlic-heavy of recipes.

Unlike canned food, fresh peeled garlic has no extra preservatives, so be sure to note expiration dates. Experts from Christopher Ranch say peeled garlic should be stored in a refrigerator and can last approximately seven weeks after peeling.