Microwave Garlic For Easier Peeling

The two-bowl method of peeling garlic is one of my all-time favourite methods. But if that skin is really stubborn, this trick from Cooks Illustrated magazine and NPR’s food blog, The Salt, might help.

Photo by David Pursehouse.

All you need to do is pop the garlic in the microwave, zap it for a few seconds, and the garlic cloves will slip right out of their papery husks with a little squeeze. It’s even easier than the two-bowl method, and 20 seconds won’t hurt the garlic in the process. How does it work? NPR’s Allison Aubrey explains:

I emailed Gavin Sacks, assistant professor in the department of food science at Cornell University. “My guess is that … the microwave will heat the water in the garlic, causing cells to rupture,” he says. The resulting steam breaks the bonds between the skins and the flesh.

Any down side? Well, microwaving the garlic is akin to blanching it, which Sacks explains will partially inactivate some enzymes. “Since the pungent compound in garlic is formed enzymatically, once raw garlic is crushed or cut, it is likely that the resulting microwaved garlic will be less pungent than non-microwaved garlic.”

She goes on to explain that when she tried it she didn’t notice a change in the flavour or texture of the garlic. And despite reservations about using the microwave, she notes that it’s an essential tool in any cook’s arsenal. The tip appears in this month’s issue of Cooks Illustrated.

Peeling Garlic Cloves [Cooks Illustrated via The Salt]

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