I rarely post about prepping tips, but I’ve been thinking about dedicating a section of my blog to just that. Quick posts, a few pics and then move on. Knife sharpening a caring, basics of mise en place, gear, kitchen logistics, food safety, so many useful things to talk about and one great opportunity to get a bit more geeky and in-depth on more technical aspects of cooking.
To peel or not to peel garlic. I’m a bit torn about this one myself. Peeling garlic is a pain in the ass, no matter what the approach. It really eats up prep time. Peeling one garlic clove at a time is usually what I end up doing. Sometimes I use a garlic press, and push the unpeeled garlic clove right through it… but the pain that it is cleaning that thing, the skins quickly obstruct the press holes.. ah, I’m already getting anxious. If a recipe calls for one or two cloves which is usually the case then peeling garlic the usual way might be ok. But when getting ready for some recipes that requires more garlic, or you know you’re going to be needing it more frequently, then I’d go to the store and buy peeled garlic in a jar. I’ve done it many times. Some might raise their eyebrows at this, but quite honestly, I doubt anyone could tell the difference. As long as the garlic looks beautiful it should be fresh and good to go. I also like to buy garlic paste at the asian markets. This is awesome stuff btw.
I don’t know who came up with this trick, I’m sure the idea derived from industrial garlic peelers that basically use the same principle. If you have your garlic heads, and want to save a ton of time peeling garlic, there this is one thing you can do:
1. You don’t need to do this but I like to cut off the woody top on the garlic head top. Be careful, is quite tough and you’ll need a good chef knife and a solid grip on both the knife and the head. At this point the cloves will come loose. You can skip the cutting of the woody top and just extract the cloves as you usually do, you can trim those bits later individually.
2. Discard all those loose skins and place the cloves in a container (I use 2 metallic bowls, and bigger is better here, mine are too small), cover with a lid or with another container. Shake this contraption vigorously for about a minute using both hands. Remove the top container/lid. About 70% of the cloves should be peeled. The rest should just need a little help and the skins should slide off pretty easily.
3. Place the peeled garlics in a jar with vegetable or olive oil. Garlic stored like this will last a long time in the fridge, way longer than keeping garlic in its own skin. Not to mention. Garlic flavored oil is delicious. Don’t subject it to heat though.