A must-have ingredient in every pantry, garlic adds the right amount of flavor to every dish. Learn how to peel, cut and mince garlic, the right way!
Garlic, is one of my favorite ingredients to instantly add bold flavor and aroma to any dish. It is widely used in Indian cooking, and always have it in my pantry!
Garlic is cultivated worldwide for its great flavor and taste. Almost every cuisine in the world uses garlic as part of its recipes.
A single piece of garlic is called a clove and a bunch of garlic cloves makes a garlic bulb.
It is best to store garlic bulbs in cold and dry places away from sunlight in your pantry. It is recommended to not separate the cloves to store garlic.
I prefer to get garlic grown locally in California. This is a bag I got from Costco, and has been my favorite way to buy garlic. I keep some garlic bulbs as is and use some to make garlic paste.
What is Garlic Good for?
Garlic not only comes packed with flavor, it also has numerous health benefits. Here are a few:
- It is highly nutritious and has very few calories
- It is effective against the common cold and flu
- Regular consumption of garlic can strengthen your immune system
- It regulates blood pressure and improves cholesterol levels.
- Acts as a detoxifier and aids in cleaning our digestive system.
How to Peel Garlic?
Often peeling garlic can be the most difficult part of using it, as the skin sticks to the clove, making it hard to remove it. Below I will share my tips for best way to peel garlic clove.
However if you are in a real hurry then, you can use this neat microwave trick to peel garlic. All you need to do is place the whole garlic bulb inside and set the microwave timer for 15-20 seconds. The steam from microwaving separates the skins from the flesh.
Alternatively, you can use a garlic tube peeler to peel the cloves.
Press the garlic bulb
Before you start peeling the garlic, you need to take out the cloves you need from the whole garlic bulb. Garlic grows in big heads and the whole garlic is also called a head or knob. The garlic bulbs contain separate individual cloves, all pieced together with a papery cover.
Before you start peeling the garlic cloves, you need to separate them from the head/bulb.
Take the whole garlic bulb and place it on the cutting board. Press with your palm on the root side to loosen the garlic cloves. Move your palm in a rounding motion. You will hear a cracking sound or like a paper rustle, it means the cloves have loosened from the garlic bulb’s head.
Separate the Garlic Cloves
Then separate the garlic cloves as needed for your recipe. A garlic clove is a one single piece of garlic separated from the whole bulb. Usually there are about 15-20 cloves of garlic in one single bulb.
Use your fingers to pull apart each piece of garlic clove from the head.
Trim the end
Once you separate the garlic clove, use a chef’s knife to trim the root side of the clove for easier peeling.
Crush the Garlic Clove
Then place the single clove on the cutting board and position the flat side of a chef’s knife over it and gently press. You will hear a crushing sound accompanied by a slight crack of the skin. Don’t apply too much pressure as you will end up squishing the clove.
Some suggest shaking individual garlic cloves in a container, but that did not work out that well out for me. Maybe you have to shake really hard and for long.
If you have a garlic peeler tube, you can try that as well to separate the skin from the clove.
Peel the Skin
Once you have gently crushed the garlic clove, it should be quite easy to remove the papery skin. Use your fingers to gently separate the skin from the clove and discard them.
You can store the peeled garlic cloves in a dry, air-tight container and store in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
How to Cut Garlic?
Usually, there are many ways to cut garlic and I have listed out the 5 common ways. You can choose any one of the way as your recipe calls for it.
Place the garlic on the cutting board and use a sharp knife to cut thin slivers of garlic. But make sure that you hold the garlic steady while slicing.
While chopping garlic, use the sliced garlic and cut in the opposite direction of the slice.
If you want really tiny pieces of garlic, then you can mince them in a fine manner. Mincing garlic is nothing but roughly crushing garlic into a paste. It distributes more flavor to the dish. You can also use a garlic press to mince a garlic clove.
Mincing with a Knife
If you are looking to mince garlic without a mincer, a knife will help you in getting the desired mince. Just slice the garlic cloves lengthwise and hold the knife and place the fingertips on top of the blade to hold it in place. Go criss-cross or left to right and vice versa using the rocking motion of the knife to get the desire mince.
Mincing with a garlic press
If you have a garlic press at home, you can also use it to mince the garlic cloves. Just add two or three cloves to the garlic press and apply enough pressure to push out minced garlic.
Grate on a microplane
If you don’t have a garlic press, not to worry, you can also use a microplane is enough to mince garlic. Just grate the garlic on the microplane to get a fine mince. But, be careful to not press or grate the garlic too much as you might end up damaging your fingertips.
Also called smashed garlic, crushed garlic is nothing but smushed garlic. You can use the knife’s flat end to crush the garlic. Apply enough pressure to smush the garlic one at a time. You can add crushed garlic to broths and soups!
Also, you can add all the chopped garlic or whole peeled garlic cloves to a blender and make garlic paste. You can either make fresh garlic paste or make a big batch and store for a later use. See all details to make and store garlic paste.
How to store peeled Garlic?
If you have peeled garlic cloves you can store them in the refrigerator for upto 4-5 days. Store them in a Ziploc or air-tight container as garlic has a strong pungent aroma.
Sliced, chopped and minced garlic must ideally be used right away as it will release enzymes that reduce the clove’s longevity.
If you are making garlic paste, you can store it for up to 3-4 months in the freezer. You can store the paste in ice-cube trays or resealable plastic bags and take the required quantity as and when you need garlic paste for your cooking.
Check out how to make garlic paste and store it in the refrigerator or freezer.
One clove of garlic is equal to 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic
One clove of garlic is equal to 1 teaspoon of chopped garlic.
And if you are wondering, how many garlic cloves are in a tablespoon, it is equal to 3 medium or big sized garlic cloves.
No, they are not the same. Minced garlic is much more finely diced than chopped garlic.
Chopped garlic is great for soups, stews and stir Frys, while minced is better for sauces, dips and dressings. I usually mince garlic to add to indian cooking.
Usually, a medium-sized clove will give you about half teaspoon of minced garlic. But if your clove is big in size, then it might be equal to 1 teaspoon of minced garlic.
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How to Peel, Cut and Mince Garlic the Right Way
- 1 bulb Garlic
How to peel garlic
- Press the garlic: Place garlic bulb on a cutting board. Press down on it with your palm on the root side to loosen the garlic cloves
- Loosen the garlic cloves: Separate each garlic clove from the root using your fingers
- Trim the end: Using a knife trin the root end of each garlic clove.
- Gently Crush the clove: Place a garlic clove flat on the cutting board. Place the flat side of a chef's knife on the clove. Gently press with your palm in top of the flat knife until you feel the skin crack. Don't smush too much on the clove during this step.
- Peel the skin: Remove the papery skin using your fingers. Discard the skin. It should be easy after the gentle crush.
Slice, Chop, Crush or Mince Garlic:
- Slice: Place the peeled garlic flat side down on a cutting board. Use a sharp chef's knife to slice the garlic.
- Chop: Chop the sliced garlic crosswise using the knife.
- Crushed Garlic: Place the peeled garlic flat side down on a cutting board. Place the flat side of the chef's knife on the clove again and crush it.
- Mincing with a knife: Slice the garlic cloves. Hold the knife securely, and place the fingertips of the other free hand on top of the blade near the tip to secure it. Use the rocking action to move the knife up and down to mince to the desired size.
- Paste: Add the garlic cloves along with a little oil or water and pulse it in the blender to make a fine paste.
- Use the cut or minced garlic immediately or within 1-2 hours.