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I put garlic in nearly everything. I am not a fanatic about various kinds of garlic, but I always use fresh garlic still in the head. This garlic keeps well and is quite predictable in its flavor. Pre-peeled garlic that you get at the store is often lifeless and does not have good shelflife and canned paste can be real bitter.

Preparing Garlic

There are a number of ways to prepare garlic. You can use it whole, slice it, mince it or press it. You can even cook the entire head and serve it straight. When dealing withthe individual cloves you should peal the "paper" off and snip off the hard base.

Getting the paper off of really fresh garlic can be troublesome. If I am mincing or pressing garlic, I use the heal of my hand to firmly press the garlic against the counter (you can also use the flat side of a knife). The crushing action will break the skin loose and you can peal it off more easily. If you are going to slice the garlic I would not recommend this technique since the crushing action will break apart the clove and you may lose the intended "slice zing", mentioned below.

In most meals you will want to cut it up to release the garlic flavor in a measured way. So do you slice, mince or press? My rules are as follows:

Slicing Garlic provides two things—distinct chucks of garlic that you can see and bite into providing real zing of garlic and, second, the look of a little garlic round. I use sliced garlic, for instance, on my pizzas. You get a good taste of garlic in the pizza, but now and then you get a full shot of flavor.
I use minced garlic in anything I want to have little garlic packets—a little crunchy thing with some flavor. I use minced garlic in all my Asian (Chinese, Indian, etc.) meals and on dishs like steamed vegetables where I want to see the garlic and have the distinct garlic bite.
I use pressed garlic in anything where I want to permeate the garlic flavor and I do not care about separating flavor. Sauces are a good example of where I would use pressed garlic. (When pressing garlic, even with it peeled, you will end up with a skin left behind in the press. Throw it away, these tend to stick around and taste like the garlic paper skin.)


The primary tool for dealing with garlic is either a sharp knife or a garlic press. Any other gadgets are just that—gadgets. But with that said its always fun to try out some new little toy.

Since my wife hates cooking, let alone mincing garlic, she is always in for something different. Last Christmas I bought her this little tool which makes fast work of mincing garlic. Looking like a throw back to the VW bug days, it is fun to use, but lacks a little in the practicality department.

To use it stick one or two cloves in it and race it up and down the counter, like it was a spring action race car from when you were a kid. The razor sharp blades inside chop the garlic in very short order. Once the novelty and fun is done you have three things to contend with:

  1. The garlic may not be chopped as fine as you really want, since some has stuck to the sides
  2. Speaking of sticking to the sides, you need to get the garlic out, which is stuck in all the little parts.
  3. When the blades get dull, throw it out and get a knew one.

But, with all that, it is a fun toy. I still use my favorite butcher knife.


If you notice I did not mention cleaning as being an issue with the 'VW Bug' Garlic mincer. That is because cleaning a garlic press is anything but fun. I clean mine by running it upside down under full force water and then scrapping the inside with a pointed knife, repeating this until the holes are clear. I usually do that right after using it since I think it is easier, but I have never done any real scientific test of various methods.

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