How to peel and mince garlic effectively and which cut is best for each use in the kitchen

How to peel and mince garlic effectively and which cut is best for each use in the kitchen

Garlic is one of those valuable ingredients that we consider a true staple of the kitchen, the basis of countless recipes and the star of many dishes, such as aioli or garlic soups. Mastering the elementary steps of its preparation or techniques such as how to peel and chop them can save us a lot of time and effort in the kitchen, and is the first step to success.

This elemental character of garlic, applicable also to onion, often leads us to assume that everyone knows how to deal with this product or that it does not matter much how it is prepared, when there are certain keys that sometimes make a big difference. Garlic is a complex and fascinating ingredient that deserves a little more attention if we want to get the most out of it.

How to peel garlic easily

The traditional and most effective method is to crush the separated teeth with the blade of a knife large, using the flat surface to press from above with your hands. If the knife is big enough, we can apply pressure to several teeth at the same time.

We must place the garlic cloves lying sideways apart, arrange the knife blade on top and press hard, but without going over, until a little creak. Then it only remains to manually remove the skin, which should be able to be removed very easily.

It is an effective system perfect for ordinary daily kitchen, when we do not usually need more than three or four cloves of garlic, at the most. Once you get the hang of it, in addition, you will do it much faster and almost instinctively. Of course, you could use another material to flatten them, as long as it’s flat, solid, and not too thick, like a small board.

Alternative methods

The traditional system can be somewhat tedious if we want to peel many teeth garlic at a time. The networks are full of tricks and hacks They claim to work magic in the kitchen and promise wonderful results to save you more time, although they don’t always work.

Peel Garlic

One of the most popular methods is to insert the teeth of one or more heads, separately, into a large jar with a lid, so that when shake it hard rubbing and blows break and weaken the skin. A similar system is to use two bowls or bowls, or a shaker. The idea is the same: shake with energy, a lot of energy.

This trick can work with certain garlic that have looser skin and also with older specimens; appears to be most effective if the base is cut first, thus making it easier for friction to peel off. It is a matter of testing and assessing whether the desired results are obtained.


Heat the garlic in the microwave, max 15-20 seconds at full power, it can help to loosen the skin a little. You can insert the entire head or loose teeth, and to enhance the steam effect it is recommended to wrap them with a moistened sheet of kitchen paper. Some also get good results by soaking them in a bowl of water and rubbing them under it, but this seems to us an impractical method.

The definitive trick so that the garlic does not sting or repeat, but retain all its aroma and flavor (and it is not to remove the germ)

How to chop garlic effectively and in what preparations to use it

The way garlic is cut influences its flavor, because just where we break its fibers a enzymatic reaction in cells responsible for allicin, the substance that produces the characteristic itch. Without going into too many complex details, when we talk about “mincing garlic” for any recipe, we can apply different techniques.

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Laminated Garlic

A very simple way is to start laminating the teeth, already peeled, using a good sharp knife with a medium blade, always being careful not to cut our fingers. It is advisable to bring their tips slightly back so that the knuckles act as a protective barrier.

Since we are going to chop them, the thickness does not matter too much; in fact, it is better not to laminate them excessively thin. Then we just have to put the sheets together and chop them in a firm motion and repetitive of the knife blade, as many times as necessary to obtain more or less small pieces, as desired.

Chopped Garlic Knife

Another more precise system consists of practicing longitudinal parallel cuts in each tooth, from one end to almost the other end, without exceeding it. Then you have to turn the blade of the knife to cut perpendicular to those lines, thus obtaining small cubes of a very similar size.

It is the cutting technique in brunoise typical of onion, but on a smaller scale. In this video we can see Jamie Oliver putting both methods into practice.

Chopped garlic

The level of mincing of the garlic will depend on the use we want to give it, or our taste. If we chop it repeatedly with the blade of the knife, manually, until we obtain tiny pieces, we will get irregular units with pieces larger than others. In a stir-fry, stews and sauces This is not a big problem, as it will end up almost disappearing.

Keep in mind that the smaller you cut the garlic, the faster it will cook, so you never have to add it to an oil that is too hot or keep it that way for too long; may go from crude to burned in a matter of seconds. This mince, in addition, is the softest in terms of the release of its aromas and spicy power, and hardly releases juices.

Garlic Press

If we opt for a garlic press we will get flavors spicier and pronounced, managing to extract more juices, although in somewhat irregular pieces. It is a good tool to add garlic to an already poached onion, a stir-fry base or the first steps of a stew or soup. You should not cook only with very hot oil because goes sour very quickly.

The garlic puree will come out more homogeneous and more intense if we crush it with the mortar, as if we were making aioli or recipes like hot garlic. Be very careful when cooking crushed garlic puree, it is very sensitive; it is not recommended for stir-fries or sautéed. An intermediate level of intensity and flavor can be obtained by roughly chopping it with a knife and then crushing the pieces with the blade; perfect for vinaigrettes or sauces.

OXO Good Grips, Garlic Press, One Size, Black

OXO Good Grips, Garlic Press, One Size, Black

Photos | iStock – Unsplash – Marco Verch – Ernesto Andrade
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