I decided to title this post Garlic 101, since this post is going to be strictly about garlic. It started with my dear friend, Olive Tree, who sent me a link to this video on how to peel one head of garlic in ten seconds. Well, it took me awhile to test it, since I didn’t have a need to use a whole head of garlic. I didn’t want to have peeled garlic lying around in the fridge without it being used either. Or I guess I could just munch on raw garlic; after all, garlic is supposed to be healthy for you. But then, other people near me might suffer and since I am compassionate about my Hubby and fellow co-workers, I chose not the inhale a head of garlic. Perhaps later on when I am mad at them, I might inhale a whole head of garlic and let them suffer… 😀 It is said that you yourself might not be aware that you have garlic breath, but others will definitely smell it… 😀
A while back, I watched an Alton Brown’s Good Eat’s episode about garlic. I actually learned something from that episode. The larger the clove of garlic, the milder the taste. I did not know that at all! Alton also showed that once the garlic clove is broken, the flavor will depend on how you damage the clove. The more garlic surface you expose, the more garlic flavor will intensify. So slicing, mincing, chopping will produce different levels of flavor. For details, please read this post at Recipetips.com.
Another thing that Alton showed us was to get rid of the garlic smell on your fingers once you prepared them. I had known this method from watching Martha Stewart a long, long time ago. Just rub your fingers into something metal under running water. Sometimes I just use the knife that I used to chop/mince the garlic, and carefully rub my garlicky fingers onto the blade under running water. Of course, it would be a whole lot safer to use a spoon to do that. So, if you choose to be lazy like me, do it at your own risk!
Then, from reading various sites like Wikipedia and the Wisegeek, I learned that garlic has this sulfuric compound called allyl methyl sulfide (AMS). When AMS is ingested, it will be absorbed into our blood and then will travel to our lungs. As a result, we get garlic breath. Now, at this point, it is too late to save yourself and others. I read that to prevent garlic breath, to drink milk as you’re eating the garlic. Or chew on some parsley together with the garlic. But to completely avoid the garlic breath, just close your mouth and shake your head side to side.
So that’s the few tidbits I picked up about garlic from Alton’s show and the various sites I visited. Let’s go back to this peeling garlic business then.
I had known since I was a little kid how to peel garlic easily. On the occasion that I didn’t have to go to school, I would either play with our dogs on the sand pile, or watch the cook prepare our lunch and dinner. (I know, it’s always the extremes with me.) She would use that big old Chinese cleaver, hold it so the blade was parallel to that round, thick, wood chopping block, and smack the heck out of the garlic clove with the blade. The result was the peel would split and you could easily remove the peel from the garlic clove.
And that’s how I peel my garlic too! Now, if you have to peel several heads of garlic though, then I would suggest you follow this video. I can attest that to peel several heads of garlic can take some time, not hours, but it really is not an exciting process to do. Which I did last year to prepare for the vegetables/fruit tray to roast the turkeys and ducks. So, since we were using the same method for our turkeys and ducks this year, I knew I had to peel at least one head of garlic.
So I picked the biggest garlic clove I had….
Smacked it with a cutting board – I did not want to use my hand and ended up hurting my hand. I think the key though was to smack the garlic head really hard so that majority of the clove separated from its stem, and that most of the peel broke open at this time.
Since I didn’t have two of the same size metal bowls, I chose to use a pot instead. Believe me, I tried using the two smaller metal bowls that I have, and that was not a smart idea. The smaller one ended up wedged inside the bigger bowl, and I was lucky to get the small bowl out of there. Leave it to me to do silly things like that! So I dumped the garlic cloves in there – after breaking them apart from the stem. Since I didn’t smack it hard enough, a few of the cloves were still attached to the stem.
Then I put the lid on top of the pot… Shook the dickens out of it… And I stopped short since I got really hot doing it! I guess it could be categorize this as some sort of aerobic exercise in the kitchen!
Then I opened the lid…
As you can see, majority of the garlic cloves were removed from their peels.
So, from now on, if I need to handle a mass quantity of garlic, this is the method that I will use. Thank you Olive for finding this video!