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Elyse Kopecky Shares Her Technique for Cutting Garlic

As part of her series on knife skills, Elyse teaches how to correctly cut up garlic.

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Garlic is a staple in any kitchen that values deliciousness (that’s pretty much all of them). There are lots of ways to buy it these days—pre-minced, pre-peeled, Dorot cubes–but nothing can beat the flavor and aroma or freshly minced garlic cloves. Watch Elyse Kopecky show you how to tackle what can be a time-consuming task with skill.

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[Part of the Mastering Meal Prep with Elyse Kopecky series]

Read the transcript:


All right, let’s learn how to mince garlic properly. So what you want to do is grab a whole bulb of garlic at the store. Preferably look for one that has the bigger size cloves; they are a lot easier to peel. So you’re going to pull off however many cloves you need for the dish. So I like to take a couple of cloves of garlic at a time.

Garlic doesn’t stay fresh for very long. So you’re not going to prep it for like the whole week. You’re just going to prep what you need for the dish as you’re cooking that night. So you want to trim off the end, where it was connected to the root. That part is really hard and you can’t mince through it. So it makes it a lot easier to peel, if you take that little end off first.

So just trim it here on all of the cloves that you’re doing. And then you can toss that aside, get that out of the way. And then the easiest way to get the skin off the garlic, which is the part that people really don’t like, is to mash it, smash it down with the side edge of your knife. And that’s going to break the clove of garlic. You want to really smash it, and that makes it a lot easier to peel. It also will make mincing the garlic quicker, faster, because it’s already broken. So you can mince it really quickly after you’ve smashed it.

All right. Wow. It’s really smelling garlic-y in here, onions and garlic and sweet potatoes. We’ve got it all going. OK. Now to mince it, all you’re going to do is gather the cloves together, tuck away your fingers so you don’t cut yourself and go across in a rocking motion. You slide your knife back and forth across—that rocking motion will help you cut faster and mince it really finely. So then I go, I kind of twist it to go the opposite direction and you want to go through that pile of garlic a second time to get it even finer.

And now you have some roughly minced garlic, but if you want it even finer, you can take your knife and rock it back and forth just really quickly. And it keeps getting it finer and just go as long as you want, depending on what you’re doing. If you’re putting this in salad dressings, you want it minced really fine. If you’re using it to sauté, it doesn’t need to be as perfect. If you’re putting it into guacamole, which is my favorite use for raw garlic, then you want it a little bit finer. And that, my friend, is garlic.