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Garlic is wonderful - but in order to use it, you have to know how to prep it. This is an easy, step by step guide to the crushing, slicing, and dicing of garlic.

Step 1: Removing the Skins

The outer skins of the garlic cloves are papery and not for eating - so they need to be removed. After crushing the larger bulb with the heel of my hand to separate the cloves, I peel the garlic one of two ways: I set the side of my knife blade on a the clove and press down on the blade until the clove pops and the skin releases. Or, I cut the cloves stem almost all the way off, leaving some of the skin attached. Either way, when I squeeze the skin at the other end of the clove the bare clove usually pops right out.

Step 2: The Crush

There are lots of ways to mince (or finely chop) garlic, but I like a garlic press - particularly this one from OXO. It's quick and easy, and the press intensifies the garlic's flavor. It extrudes the flesh through tiny holes, pureeing the garlic some to release its juices. Then I use a knife to release any clinging garlic from the press.

Step 3: Slice...but No Dice

Slicing garlic is also a good way to go - larger pieces fry nicely and add texture and flavor. To thinly slice garlic, I put the clove on its flattest, most stable side, and slice away. About halfway through the clove, I usually roll the clove over to the new flat side for more stability, and finish it off. Keep a close eye on your fingers - this one can be tricky.

Step 4: And...you're Done!

Heat some oil to shimmering, toss in the garlic - and you're all set to begin cooking whatever it is that tickles your tastebud's fancy.

There are more pictures and tips at Cookthink
There's another common method many chefs use: Crush the individual cloves by laying the flat side of the knife on them and smacking with the heel of your hand. This seperates the skin friom the clove and ruptures the cells. You can then mince the clove or add it whole.
That's how I usually do it :) Thought everyone else did too!
Be sure to wait 10 minutes after preparing and before cooking for it to develope it's full potential.

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