If you've spent any time in the kitchen, you know how to knife-smash and peel a clove of garlic. But what should you do when a recipe calls for a whole bulb or more? The chefs at Stack Exchange have the answer.
How should I approach peeling a clove of garlic to get the skin off quickly? Is it different if I'm doing a bulb whole?
The Traditional Method: Answered by Crispy
Even with a whole bulb, break it into cloves. Put clove(s) on a cutting board. I usually cut off the root end of each clove. Lay a large chef's knife flat on the clove, then smack the knife to crush the clove. This breaks the skin of the clove and makes it much easier to peel.
Note: Be sure NOT to use a ceramic knife. It can easily break.
The Shake Trick: Answered by Joe
The trick is that you're bruising the clove of garlic a little bit so the paper will release easier. If you're using a bulb or less, it's not too bad to do the side of the knife press method, but if you're cooking up a recipe that calls for a dozen heads, there's an alternate trick:
- Break the head into cloves.
- Put the cloves into a sealable hard-sided container much larger (10x or more) than the garlic.
- Shake the hell out of it for about 15-30 seconds. Pull out the cloves, and the paper should come off easily.
- If cloves are still difficult to release, shake longer and more vigorously.
- Repeat for the remaining bulbs. You can do this with two metal bowls of the same size, pressing together the lip on the rims while shaking.
Note: I don't recommend plastic containers, as you might impart a garlic flavor to them that will be difficult to remove.
The Shake Trick: Video: Answered by Hugh
Check out this great video on peeling garlic. It's basically the same method as that described in Joe's answer: Smash the head, put it all (if you need a whole head of garlic) in a large metal bowl, put another metal bowl on top, but upside down (so that the rims overlap), and shake hard for several seconds.
The Garlic Peeler/Roller: Answered by JeffG
I call them "Garlic Cannoli." (Actually, they're called, simply, "garlic peelers.") For Christmas, I gave my wife one of these as a stocking-stuffer. I had seen them in kitchen gadget stores for years, but was always reluctant to get one, believing it was another useless, cheap gadget. I was wrong! I used to peel garlic using a knife, but now, I can peel a clove every five seconds.
It's essentially a silicon or rubber tube. You place the clove inside and lightly press it and roll it on the counter, like you're forming a baguette. Penny for penny, I've never had such a useful gadget (except maybe a silicon spatula).
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