How to Peel Garlic Two Ways

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Garlic is incredibly tasty and healthy for you, and even one clove can improve significantly the blandest of meals. But it’s kind of hard to get to the nutritious goodie inside because of its clingy skins, right? Here’s how to peel a lot of garlic with very little hassle.


When I was a kid, peeling garlic was the first and one of the few jobs I got in the kitchen from my mom. A part of me suspects that it was meant to keep me busy around the house since it seemed to take forever before I was done with one head of garlic. I don’t know why I am talking in the past because this is still taking forever, even after I peeled so many cloves in my kitchen life.

That’s not even all there is. Garlic has a divine taste, but when you peel it, your fingers become sticky and it’s very difficult to get the smell out of your skin, even after you wash your hands a few times.

But in the end, it’s all worth it, because garlic is a very healthy food. Especially because it contains allicin, a sulfur compound which forms when a garlic clove is chopped, crushed, or chewed. One ounce (28 grams) serving of garlic contains manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C, selenium, fiber. But also smaller amounts of calcium, copper, potassium, phosphorus, iron, and vitamin B1. All this nutrition in a low-calorie package, with 1.8 grams of protein.

Garlic can help fight colds, reduce your blood pressure, improve your cholesterol levels, prevent Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, improve bone health and detoxify your body.

So maybe there’s an easier way to get to the goodness? Yes! Even two! Two great ways on how to peel garlic without the hassle. Try them all and see which one you like best.

How to peel garlic with less fuss

First method: Shake it, shake it, shake it!

Don’t believe us? It’s how chefs do it when they have to cook with a large quantity of garlic. And it works, it’s easy, fast, and even a little bit fun. It doesn’t work with just one clove. Here’s how to do it.

1. Separate the garlic bulb

Use your hands to break up the cloves in the garlic bulb. You don’t have to remove the skins.

The easiest way to separate the bulb is to place it on your kitchen counter with the tip of the cloves facing up. Use the heel of your hand to strike the bulb and the cloves will separate. Easily.

If you have sensitive hands, hit the top of the bulb with a bowl or another heavy, flat surface.

2. Select cloves

This trick works with a few cloves, not with one. But you don’t have to use the entire bulb either. So select what you need for the day and keep the other ones unpeeled. They keep better that way.

3. Place cloves in bowl

You will need two identical metallic or ceramic bowls. Small to medium bowls are the best size for them, or else they will be unwieldy. Place the cloves in one of them.

4. Cover one bowl with the other

Cover the bowl that holds the cloves with the other bowl and make sure their edges match. You can also use an old plastic bottle and screw the top part tightly.

5. Shake, shake, shake!

For this to work, the cloves have to bang against each other. That is how they peel off their skin.

Shake the two bowls or the bottle as fast as you can, for 15-20 seconds. You should be able to hear the garlic bumping into the sides of the containers.

6. Check them out

Separate your bowls and see if the cloves are all peeled. If the process isn’t completely finished, then shake them some more, for a few seconds, as hard as you can.

Second method: Smash with a flat knife

Now, if you only need a couple of garlic cloves for your recipe, it doesn’t make sense to peel a whole bulb. Because all the other cloves would dry up afterward. To peel them easily, you can use a flat knife.

1. Preparation

You’ll need to place the clove on a flat, stable surface. Place the blade of the flat knife on the clove. And remember, the sharp edge of the blade should be away from you.

2. Smash!

Place your palm on the blade and use it to smash the clove in a quick move. Your palm should be outstretched, and you should press downward. Don’t overdo it, because you might end up smashing the clove altogether, and not just liberating the skin.

3. Finish peeling

Use your fingers to remove the peel from the clove. The knife only gets you so far and makes this part easier.

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