Introduction: How to Peel Onions and Garlic, Quickly and Easily.

First get your onion and/or garlic.

Please forgive me for paraphrasing poor Mrs Beeton from her famous ‘Book of Household Management’ published in Great Britain in 1861.

The reason I say ‘poor’ Mrs Beeton is that I feel so sorry for her, growing up in a household of 21 children, publishing a very successful book at the age of 24 (selling a whopping –for that time- 60,000 copies, only to die 4 years later at the tender age of 28!

And in case you have no idea what I’m talking about when I say “Please forgive me for paraphrasing …” apparently, in the recipe for Jugged hare, she starts with the words “First get your hare” which, when I first read it, conjured up pictures of her going out into the wilds of rural England with her blunderbuss, or whatever they used to shoot hares in those days, trudging on home to gut and dress the poor creature before getting it ready to ‘jug’ it, whatever that means!

Well, nuff of the history lesson, we assume you’ve managed to capture an onion or garlic clove or two and are ready to find out how to peel the darn things quickly and easily.

By the way, you will notice that I use wooden cutting boards. I’ve done some research and found that wooden cutting boards are more hygienic than those other man-made ones so popular these days. Something to do with the natural fibres of wood expanding and contracting after washing with hot, soapy water that kills any bacteria left behind.

Step 1:

Cut most of the growing tips off the tops but leave the root area intact unless they are so long they get in the way, in that case just trim them. Then cut the onion lengthwise into quarters.

Place cut side down on cutting board as shown, to minimise the exudation of fumes.

Step 2:

Take one quarter and lay it ‘belly up’ as shown and with a sharp knife cut diagonally through nearly, but not quite all layers of the root end.

Lay the knife to the side and you will find that the last layer of the onion (the skin) separates from the rest and can be peeled away quite easily.

Step 3: Ready for the Next Step in the Recipe.

Step 4: Oops, Nearly Forgot About the Garlic.

You’ll notice I use a different wooden board from the other one, I’m not really sure why, just became a habit I guess, it’s half of a square one I used to use, it must be at least 20 years old and is only used for peeling and smashing garlic.

It’s not clear in the first photo, but I cut off the root part of the cloves, leaving the pointy bits intact.

Step 5: Bash It a Little

Get a wide bladed knife or whatever comes to hand and bash the cloves just hard enough to split the papery skin (you don’t want to smash it to a pulp at this stage as that makes it hard to separate the skin from the inner bulb).

Step 6: All Done

Grab the pointy tip of the skin and all should come away and your garlic is ready for the next stage in the cooking process.

Final hint:

To get rid of onion/garlicky smells off fingers, knives and cutting boards:

Rub generously with kitchen/table salt and rinse with cold water.

Thanks for looking,

Mrs B