We ate our fair share of garlic in our meals in Alabama, but Mom didn’t often bother with fresh garlic. My brother and I were like hungry dogs nipping at her heels in the hopes that one of us could distract her long enough to allow the other to snatch just-cooked food from the various serving bowls and plates prior to dinner. As a result, our dear mother had to cut corners, and that usually meant cutting corners when it came to flavorizing recipes. She’d give a few shakes of garlic powder over our pasta sauce, and we’d chow down.
As a child-free adult who likes to cook, I’m able to take my time in the kitchen and prepare almost of my meals from scratch, and fresh garlic is packed with cancer-fighting properties. Still, when it comes to prepping garlic for recipes, I’d like the aromatic bulb to be a little quicker in the peeling department. If you’re like me, not only is garlic peeling a laborious task, but it often leaves my fingers smelling strong enough to keep Dracula at bay.
Here are a few quick maneuvers to speed up garlic peeling so you can savor the other parts of the food prep process.
1. Knife slam technique: Remove the amount of garlic cloves from the bulb. Then, lay the knife blade sideways against the clove and press it against a hard, flat surface (i.e. cutting board). Ta da! The tough outer skin of the garlic will separate from the clove, and you’re ready for chopping, pressing, or mincing. I usually listen to the band below when I implement this technique.
2. “Hand of Destruction” technique: Remember those self-defense classes you took where you learned about the intense power latent in the heel of your hand? Yes, the heel of your hand holds the power to destroy someone’s nose and sinus cavity. Your hand is also a perfect force for destroying unpeeled garlic.
Similar to the knife slam technique above, remove the cloves from their bulb and place on a hard, flat surface. Using your hand like the knife blade, press down against the garlic with all your strength until the peeled garlic is under your dominion. I often channel Bruce Lee when I’m using the “Hand of Destruction” technique.
If you’re worried folks will notice the strong garlic smell on your hands and suspect your violence against garlic, the Kitchn and Good Housekeeping have a few fool-proof methods to remove the smelly evidence.
3. 10 second garlic peel: Below you’ll see a great garlic peeling technique if you need to peel a bunch of garlic at one time.
Do you have a speedy way to peel garlic and/or eliminate its pungent odor from your hands? Let me know all about your quick garlic peeling and de-smelling tips in the comments below.