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Dec 11, 2012 11:39 AM

Quick tip to peel a head of garlic

Of course I am familiar with the knife slam technique to peel a clove of garlic but any tips to peel a head. For some reason, I can never get the gathering of paper at the top open and then struggle to get out the individual cloves. D'oh!

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  1. flip it upside down, put your hand on it and press down with all your weight, essentially trying to squish it, should loosen the cloves right up

    I do it point down though, meh

    1. Smash garlic head with the heel of your hand.
      I keep the root part pointing towards me. With the heel I push down and away, this separate the cloves and on some cloves partial tears the covering on the cloves.

      Also, some people just take a heavy cast iron skillet to smack a head of garlic.

      1 Reply
      1. re: dave_c

        Gracias, I will give it a try. My aching fingers will appreciate it.

      2. If you don't need whole cloves, you can lightly smash the individual cloves with the knife blade or with a smooth stone you keep for this purpose. The papery coverings come loose and can be taken off easily. I usually use the stone, and I lightly smash it several times if necessary.

        1. Totally depends on whether the garlic is fresh ie 'oily/sticky/heavy or if it came from China and basically has been consuming itself becoming light as a feather as soon as it went into the shipping container three months ago.
          If it's fresh which is not likely this time of year it's easy to peel the cloves with a really sharp little knife. I'd go the smash with side of a knife at this time of year. I bought some fresh bulbs last Sept. I just tried one. It's definitely losing it's freshness.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Puffin3

            I think you might be on to something. I bought the usual garlic I have been buying for months at Wegman's and annoyingly 50% of the cloves were these small slivers which were not worth even peeling.

            1. re: Puffin3

              Garlic bulbs are bulbous in my market as are the cloves.

              In fact, I was thinking how nice the last two bulbs I bought were. I buy once or twice a week.

              Garlic is grown year round as far as I know. Such areas as Cal, India and China don't necessarily harvest in the spring.

              1. re: FrankJBN

                There is a very specific garlic growing season in China. Actually the garlic that comes from China was harvested last year and stored to be sold when the world demand was right. Unless you are buying fresh garlic from a local garlic grower you are never going to experience the delights of eating fresh garlic. Happens once a year.

            2. Saveur has what they claim is a 10-second method to peel an entire head.

              4 Replies
              1. re: JungMann

                It works. I've tried it. Although with a pot and cover, not with two bowls. Good for a whole head, but I don't bother with a clove or three. For just a few cloves, I cut off the root end, hold each end of the clove, and twist the top in one direction and the bottom in the opposite direction. The skin slips right off.

                1. re: JungMann

                  See that didn't work that well for me. I had 40 cloves and it took quite a few shakes to get them all peeled... not nearly as quick as they make it look in that video. And my arms were tired afterwards :)

                  1. re: juliejulez

                    That reminds me of a time several years ago when a friend (who doesn't cook much) was attempting dinner for a new boyfriend - she asked me if the clove was the "whole thing" or the "piece" - she had bought 40 heads of garlic for forty clove garlic - good thing she called me before trying to peel all of them.... Don't remember the outcome of the dinner

                    1. re: harryharry

                      HA! Whatever did she do with all that garlic?!!?