Anyone who has cooked with garlic before knows how the pungent scent overwhelms your hands smell after trying to peel the skin off a clove of garlic. The smell stains your skin, lingering for hours, if not days, at a time. This issue occurs even after you spend five minutes trying to get every minuscule piece of the garlic peel off the clove.  

Fortunately, learning how to peel garlic is a quick and easy process. It involves separating the flesh of the garlic from the skin with minimal manhandling and a lot less time spent wresting each clove.  

Step 1: Separate the Clove

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Sarah Schuette

Separate a single clove from your bulb by pulling away the paper of the bulb until a clove is visible. Use your fingers to pry the clove away from the others. Set it in the center of your board.

Step 2: Cut Off the Bottom

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Sarah Schuette

Cut off the bottom of your clove, which is the thicker end with a brown, hard cap.

Step 3: Crush the Clove

Sarah Schuette

Hold your knife with the side of the blade hovering over the clove. Carefully use the heel of your hand to press the flat surface against your garlic using a fast and forceful movement. If mincing garlic, repeat this step once more to crush the flesh and release more juice to make it easier to mince.

Step 4: Peel the Skin Away

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Sarah Schuette

Pinch the top of your clove and pull the peel away from the flesh. It should come off without a struggle.

Step 5: Finish It Up

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Sarah Schuette

Chop away if you're mincing it, or just go ahead and use the full clove. Whatever your recipe calls for.

Now that you've learned how to have a fresh clove of garlic in just seconds, you can spend all that saved time cooking with it. Garlic roasted potatoes, garlic fried kale (my personal favorite), and garlic butter chicken are decadent and flavorful dishes that I highly recommend trying.  

Whether the recipe requires whole cloves or minced garlic, this technique will be effective regardless. Throw away the jar of pre-minced, pre-peeled, oil-soaked garlic that has been sitting in your fridge and pick up a fresh bulb of garlic to test your new skills.  Soon, you'll be making garlic-flavored everything.