Garlic In Your Kitchen


Breaking the bulb: Begin by removing the outer layer of the garlic. With stem pointed into work surface and bulb at a slight angle, press down and away with the heal of your hand.


The bulb will break into individual “cloves”.


Peeling the clove: After the cloves have been separated, trim off the root end.


Twist the clove between your fingers to loosen the skin. Once the skin has loosened, remove. If the garlic is fresh, loosening the skin tends to be more difficult.


The clove can now be cooked whole, or it can be sliced, chopped, minced, or smashed. The intensity of flavor of fresh garlic depends upon how the garlic is prepared. See below for how the different preparation methods for garlic affect its flavor.


Whole Cloves – Mild Flavor

The juices and oils of whole garlic have not been extracted, which results in a mild flavor.


Sliced Cloves – Mild Flavor

Larger pieces, such as slices, will not totally dissolve when cooked, which will result in a milder flavor than chopped, minced, or smashed garlic. To slice, place the peeled clove on its side and make thin crosswise cuts.


When it gets so it is hard to hold on to the clove, turn it so the flat cut side is down on the cutting board. Finish cutting in thin slices.


Chopped Cloves – Medium Flavor

Chopping the garlic into smaller pieces will allow a little more of the juices and oils to be released. This will provide more flavor than slicing and the amount of flavor will depend on the size of the pieces. The smaller they are the more flavor will be released.

To chop the cloves, first make several lengthwise sliced through the clove but do not cut all the way through the root end. The number of slices you make will depend on the size of the clove and how big you want the chopped pieces to be.


After making the lengthwise slices, turn the clove and cut the clove crosswise to create the chopped pieces. Cut to desired thickness.


Minced Cloves – Full Flavor

Mincing the garlic cloves releases a large amount of juices and oils to provide a strong flavor to the other ingredients of the dish the garlic is cooked with. Begin by slicing lengthwise as you would when chopping the cloves, only cut in to thinner slices.


Turn the clove and cut crosswise in thin slices to create small pieces.


After the pieces are cut, scrape them into a pile and begin cutting the pieces into smaller pieces with a chef’s knife. Place the palm of one hand on the top of the blade and with a rocking motion, move across the pile of garlic, cutting them as you go. Several passes will have to be made to cut them into fine enough pieces. Scrape the garlic back into a pile as needed.


Smashed Cloves – Intense Flavor

When the cloves have been smashed they provide a very intense flavor because much of its juices and oils are released. The only methods that will produce more flavor is pressing or pureeing the garlic.

Mince the garlic as shown above and then sprinkle very lightly with salt.


Place the flat side of the chef’s knife on top of the minced garlic with the cutting edge away from you. Using your other hand, apply pressure by placing your fingers on the blade and pull it towards you. Then push it back up in a slight circular motion.


Continue this motion repeatedly over the garlic until it is all smashed. The garlic will be slightly liquefied.