How to chop garlic

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How to chop garlic quickly & easily - and remove the smell from your hands!

I love garlic, so I tend to go through a lot of it. Which is great, because it’s really good for you and most people seem to like the flavor. The downside being that if you don’t know how to chop it quickly, those little cloves can be a real pain in the behind. So I shall now share my technique for chopping garlic – it’s nothing terribly exciting but it does make chopping up a bunch of cloves of garlic a less painful experience.

Start with your bulb of garlic:

Crack the little neck until it splits open:

Peel off all the papery skin and break all of the cloves off. If they are being stubborn you can lay the flat side of your knife on the top of the bulb and press on it, that should loosen them up. Once you’re done you should have a bunch of individual cloves of garlic.

You can now keep the ones you don’t need in a small dish or garlic container, ready to easily grab next time you need a couple.

Next place the cloves you will be chopping up on your cutting board with the curvy side facing up (I don’t know that that part matters that much, that’s just how I do it)

Press the flat of your knife over the center, like so:

Side View:

Then either press firmly or just whack down nice and hard with your palm – don’t be shy, give it a decent amount of pressure or a good firm whack. If the skin doesn’t come off easily it’s probably because you aren’t using enough force. (But please do avoid cutting yourself.)

The skin should crack open and get loose:

Now just cut off the little hard stumpy end and the rest of the skin should peel off really easily.

You’ll be left with a little naked clove of garlic, ready to chop.

Start by cutting it from top to bottom, along the long side of the clove.

Then you’ll have a bunch of slivers – rotate them 90 degrees and chop them into small pieces.

If you are chopping multiple cloves of garlic I recommend peeling them all and cutting all of them lengthwise, then grouping the slivers into a pile and cutting all of them widthwise – just makes it go faster than doing one piece at a time.

This will leave you with fairly well chopped garlic:

I usually like mine a bit more minced, so I take it a step further.  Make a nice tight little pile of all your garlic pieces and position your knife over it, stabilizing the tip of the knife with your other hand:

Now just chop in a rocking motion from one side to the other and back again.

You may have to occasionally scrape the garlic back into a tight pile, it’ll want to spread out and annoy you. But just show it who’s boss and scrape it back in with the side of the knife.

That’s all there is to it – just keep chopping away until it’s as fine as you want it.  With a bit of practice this part goes really fast and you get to do that super fast chopping action that makes you (and by you, I mean me) feel all professional and knife-skillsy.

Since you’ve been touching garlic your fingers will now probably stink of garlic, which is cool if you want to be reminded of your dinner for the rest of the night, but if not here’s a fun trick. Just dip your finger into your salt bowl (assuming you use a salt bowl, which I highly recommend, way better than a shaker. But if you don’t then just shake some salt onto your finger.)

Scrub the salt around between your fingers a bit, then rinse it off. Voila! No more garlic smell!

That’s my standard technique – usually takes me about 30-60 seconds to chop around 3 or 4 cloves of garlic, which isn’t too bad. Anyone else have an even faster way to do it or some other gadget that makes it even easier? I’d love to hear about it!

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2 thoughts on “How to chop garlic”

  1. My friend has this little rubber cylinder that you put the garlic cloves into, you roll it on the counter once or twice, and your garlic clove is peeled! No more nice-squishing! I’ll have to ask her what it is called, but man is that thing cool!