You've Been Peeling Garlic All Wrong

Garlic is some pretty powerful stuff, good for everything from killing vampires and demons, to yum-ifying your breakfast and supper. But have you ever noticed that, for mythological purposes, the garlic never requires peeling? That's because peeling garlic is a giant pain in the behind — for some, it might even be the most difficult part of a complicated recipe. Tell people a vampire only fears peeled garlic, and they'd probably decide to just risk the vampire. But the truth is, peeling a clove of garlic is actually a simple task, so long as you're doing it the right way. As you will see, there's more than one right way to skin a clove of garlic. Take a gander at these handy methods we've uncovered, and give one a try the next time you're tasked with peeling a clove. Or better yet, try them all until you find the way that works best for you.

Outsource the peeling

The easiest way to peel garlic is to get someone else to do it for you. Garlic can actually be purchased pre-peeled, but unless you live in an area without easy access to fresh garlic, you risk just looking lazy...and if a chef is too lazy to peel garlic, then what other culinary corners are they cutting that you can't see? Pre-peeled garlic can also be something of an unknown quantity, depending on where you buy it, and it's definitely going to come at a premium. Plus, since peeling garlic is about to become the easiest thing in the world for you, there's really no need to risk your reputation by turning garlic into the kitchen equivalent of a bag of Cheetos.

Smash it

This classic—and very satisfying—technique for peeling garlic is familiar to chefs everywhere. Simply place a clove of garlic on your cutting board, place the blade of a large knife flat on top of the clove (with the sharp edge facing away from you), and hit the knife with the heel of your hand. This achieves the triple effect of crushing the garlic, separating the skin, and relieving unwanted tension. However, if you didn't want the garlic crushed, you aren't comfortable with punching a sharp knife, or you do yoga and thus have no tension to spare, this may not be the technique for you.

Go nuclear with a microwave

Love them or hate them, microwaves are an undeniably convenient way to make things hot. They are also a pretty convenient way to peel garlic if you are so inclined, and they do it without using any sharp edges or extra aggression. To harness the garlic peeling powers of your microwave, place the garlic in the microwave and heat for 20 seconds (cooking time may vary depending on the power of your particular machine). When the time is up, the clove should slide easily out of its skin. This works for one clove, or a hundred...but there are a couple of downsides. By microwaving the garlic you are effectively cooking it, and this can reduce the pungency of the stinky bulb. Also, if you don't own a microwave, you may experience some difficulty getting this to work. Finally, if you are a disciple of the Food Babe, you might be at risk of turning your garlic into deadly posion...or something.

Twist that skin off

If you don't have a microwave, a knife, or access to pre-peeled garlic, then fret not — you still have options. Truth be told, garlic doesn't seem particularly attached to its skin (it could even be a lizard-like survival mechanism for all we know), and all it takes it a little stress to get it to let go. So if you're in a pinch, and have no other means to get the skin off a clove of garlic, you can give this method a try. Grab the garlic at each end of the clove and gently twist it. If you do it right, you should hear a snap as the skin comes away from the bulb, and the two should be easily separated. The downside to this is that it works best with long, thin cloves, so it might be tricky to do with your more common short and fat examples. But if you're desperate, and you have somehow managed to make it this far into your recipe without a knife, you might as well give it a go.

A silicone garlic peeler

If you have money to burn and plenty of storage space in your kitchen, then this next hack might be for you. This must-have garlic peeler is a simple cylinder made of silicone. Place a single clove of garlic into the cylinder, and roll back and forth on the table, and in not very much time at all the garlic will appear magically freed of its skin. That's great! you cry, and it a point. Unfortunately, if you need to cook up more than a small batch of anything, this gadget will leave you frustrated because you can only peel a couple cloves at a time. The novelty (such as it is) wears off pretty quick, and while it is admittedly a pretty cheap splurge if you do decide to get one, you should know that the esteemed television personality Alton Brown fervently decries any gadget he considers a "unitasker" (any kitchen tool that does one thing and nothing else), and the silicone garlic peeler definitely falls into that category.

Shake it up

Although the video above suggests using two metal bowls for this trick, in truth almost any container will work, so long as you can cover the top. A jar, a saucepan, a bowl and cutting board — whatever, just dump the cloves in, cover, and shake shake shake. After about ten seconds, the garlic will appear naked laying in the shreds of its former skin...and who can blame it? If you were put into a can and vigorously shaken, you'd probably shed your skin too. If none of the above options suit your garlic peeling circumstances, then hopefully this will do the trick. It requires almost no technique, no special equipment, and the only downside is that it can get a bit loud if you use metal bowls.

Also, if you don't have any suitable containers to shake the cloves in, you can probably achieve the same effect simply by throwing the garlic at the wall. But if you really hate peeling garlic, you've likely already tried that.