This Tip From Lorena Garcia Will Change The Way You Peel Garlic

If you have a store-bought jar of minced garlic sitting in your refrigerator, it's probably because the fresh kind can be a pain to use. Especially for dishes that are heavy on the garlic, peeling that paper-thin skin off of every single sticky clove is a time-consuming activity.

There are plenty of effective hacks out there, though, including smashing the whole bulb with a cleaver or shaking it between two bowls, but Lorena Garcia's method is one that requires even less effort. The celebrity chef and restaurateur shared with People that the easiest way to go about it is to use the microwave. 

Garcia explained that she'll take whole garlic cloves — peel and all — and zap them in the microwave for 10 seconds. Then, when she takes them out, just like magic, the peels slip right off, making the peeling process all the less arduous. 

As the executive chef of Chica, operating a kitchen with efficiency is extremely important for Garcia, and 10 seconds in the microwave makes a big difference.

Lorena Garcia's hack changes the flavor of the garlic

When you microwave garlic, there's a chemical reaction at play. Food science expert Gavin Sacks, an assistant professor at Cornell University, explained to NPR that it has to do with the water content of the garlic. When microwaved, this water gets heated and turns into steam that forces the cells to break down, ultimately causing the flesh to detach from the peel.

However, that's not the only thing the microwave does, Sacks shared. In the process, it also deactivates the enzymes, and the garlic won't taste as pungent. 

As Cooks Illustrated further elaborated, the sharp flavor you taste when you eat garlic is actually the sulfur in the molecule allicin, a byproduct of the enzyme alliinase. When this enzyme reaches a temperature of 140 degrees or higher, it gets deactivated. 

Microwaving garlic, therefore, not only forces the peel to detach but also kills the taste that comes from the alliinase. So, if you want an easier time peeling garlic, you'll just have to settle for a slightly weaker flavor.