Introduction: How to Chop Garlic

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Learn how to easily peel, crush, slice, chop, and mince fresh garlic in minutes!

Garlic is one of my favorite flavors to add to almost any dish at any meal. It's sweet and spicy flavors with it's sticky, pungent smell start my mouth watering any and every time. Fresh chopped garlic can be so simple to create and the flavor profile of your meal will skyrocket, just follow these simple steps. 

Step 1: Getting Started

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Gather the following:
  • Kitchen or Chefs Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • A Head of Garlic

Step 2: Separate Garlic Cloves

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Separate as many garlic cloves as you need from your head of garlic. They should be easy to pull apart, and their skins will save your fingers from getting sticky.

Step 3: Remove the Garlic Skin

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Once you have your desired amount of cloves, it's time to remove that garlic skin. This method will keep your fingers from getting sticky and speed up the skin removal.

1. Place the flat side of your kitchen or chefs knife on top of a single clove while holding the handle of the knife.
2. Place the heel of your free hand on top of the knife. Make sure your fingers are out of the way by raising them upward.
3. Apply pressure with the heel of your hand. Apply just enough force for the clove to begin to be crushed under your weight.

That's it! Place your newly crushed clove (skin potentially still loosely intact). Repeat for all of your cloves before removing the loosely bound paper skins. This will keep your hands sticky-free for as long as possible! 

Step 4: Cut Off Root End

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Before we get into slicing, chopping, and mincing, cut off the root end of the clove(s).

Step 5: Slicing Your Garlic

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Now for the fun part. Slicing:

1. Align all of your freshly peeled cloves.
2. Make sure your fingers are tucked and out of the way so that you don't chop them with the garlic.
3. Start with the point of your knife blade on the surface of the cutting board and use a gentle rocking motion to slice the cloves.
4. Slice the garlic into 5-7 slices. If you are going for sliced garlic, stop here!

In this Instructable I sliced the garlic crosswise. You may also slice the garlic lengthwise. 

A special note: The green portion of the garlic towards the tip of the blade does NOT mean that the clove has gone bad. It does signal that the clove is getting older however. As each clove ages, the taste and smell of the garlic can become sharper. You can remove the sprout, and continue to use the clove as normal if you would prefer to lessen the sharpness. If it is still sharper than your taste buds like, try to using cloves that haven't sprouted yet. In general, garlic has not gone bad until it is rotten, moldy, or dried out.

Step 6: Chopping

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Chopping:

1. Rotate the slices of cloves you just made 90 degrees.
2. Using the same rocking motion with your knife, make 5-7 more passes moving along your slices.
3. Once you have made it across your pile of garlic, you should have uniform pieces of chopped garlic. If they are not to the size you would prefer, you can continue chopping until that size is obtained.

If you need to, you can rest your free hand flat on top of the blade, taking care to keep your fingers out of the way. This will give you more control while you are chopping. 

Step 7: Minced Garlic

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If you have a garlic press, this an ideal time for it as it will produce an even mince for your entire clove. If you are like me however, and are not so lucky, take your pile of chopped garlic and continue to chop it until it is small and uniform as though it came out of a press.

Since you are doing a fair amount of chopping in this step, you can lightly sprinkle your garlic pile with salt which will help it not stick to the knife as you are chopping. Be careful however, not to over salt as it will affect the saltiness your food. 

Step 8: Whole, Crushed, Sliced, Chopped, Minced?

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By altering how finely you choose to chop your Garlic--whole, crushed, chopped, minced--you can change and control the amount of garlic flavor in your dish. But what is the difference? 

Besides the obvious size difference, the amount of chopping is directly related to the amount of sulfur released from each clove of garlic. Garlic, like other members of the onion family, contain several sulfur containing compounds which are in turn responsible for the taste and smell of garlic. Increased chopping, releases more of the sulfuric compounds, leading to an increase in garlic flavor and smell. Therefore, minced garlic or garlic paste should have the strongest flavor and aroma, while whole or crushed cloves will have less.  

Comments

RMP2003 (author)2015-06-03

Thank you. This was the only useful one I cold find! LOL.

bricobart (author)2014-05-01

To prevent a 'too smelly' breath you can remove the germ before the chopping - most people don't digest that part very well and that's the origin of the disturbed faces around you... ;)

wazzup105 (author)2014-02-05

That's pretty much how I do it when I do it. One extra tip to get started might be to bash the bulb to get the cloves to get undone but since this might bruise the cloves only do it when you expect to be using the whole bulb (or just start with the bruised cloves)

These days though I find I use my garlic squeezer mainly ... just pop a clove (or two) in and squeeze. Remove skin from squeezer and repeat if necessary.

kelleymarie (author)wazzup1052014-02-11

Hi Wazzup105! Beautiful and time saving tip. Thank you! I'll work on adding that into my Instructable in the future. I've also heard that after you've released all of the garlic cloves you can place them into a metal bowl, cover with another metal bowl and shake the cloves around. Supposedly if you shake long and hard enough, all of the skin will come off of the cloves but I haven't tried it yet!

p0tty (author)kelleymarie2014-03-06

That does work but crushing them with the blade is way easier with less to clean.

Penolopy Bulnick (author)2014-02-05

Great step by step directions and pictures :)

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