Kathy Maister's Start Cooking

How to Peel Garlic

posted in Spices and Seasonings by Kathy Maister

The use of garlic dates back centuries. There are records in Sanskrit, literally thousands of years old that show garlic’s use as a medicine. Basically before doctors said “take two aspirin and call me in the morning,” they said, “take some garlic.”

imgp0185_305

My next three posts are going to be about preparing garlic for cooking. We’ll cover:

1. Peeling garlic

2. Slicing, mincing and crushing garlic

3. Getting the garlic smell off your hands and breath

First, peeling.

A fresh bulb of garlic can be found in the produce section of the grocery store. It is very inexpensive. If it is stored in a cool dark place, it should last up to eight weeks.

This is a picture of whole bulbs of garlic.

imgp4153_305

It is made up of 10-16 cloves, and each clove is covered in a papery like skin.

(Note from Jon Sacker: “It’s worth pointing out to the ‘startcooking’ readers that one can of course simply ease a single clove or two away from the bulb and then top and smash that. It’s not necessary to use the whole bulb”. – thanks Jon!)

imgp4175_305

There are two very efficient (and fun) ways to remove that papery skin. One way is to first cut off the base of the clove.

imgp4194_305

Then place the clove on a board, and gently slam it with the flat side of a big knife. Be sure the sharp edge of the knife is pointed away from you.

imgp4252_305

The skin should burst so that you can then remove it. A very satisfying activity!

imgp4222_305

Or you can roll the garlic bulb in a special tool—a garlic skin removing tube…

imgp4224_305

imgp4230_305

…and the skin magically slips off the clove.

imgp4238_305

This tube is like a soft silicone canolli pastry shell. They do cost about $8, which is kind of expensive when you could just use the flat of your knife.

The choice is yours!

Next, we’ll talk about slicing, mincing and crushing garlic.

If you are new to startcooking, or are a regular visitor here, please consider subscribing for free.

3 Comments

Claire said:

I think the slam technique is so much fun; however, my garlic press doesn’t require me to take the skin off prior to use, so I usually just put the clove in, skin and all!

Kathy (Maister) said:

Hi Claire,
I bought one like that and most of the garlic stays in the press along with the skin! Oops!

Jon (Sacker) said:

Kathy,

It’s worth pointing out to the ‘startingcooking’ readers that one can of course simply ease a single clove or two away from the bulb and then top and smash that. It’s not necessary to use the whole bulb.