How to make garlic puree with just a knife

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He makes it look easy. It takes a little time to refine the technique, but anyone can do it. I highly recommend it over an icky garlic press. We have one and I can’t ever recall using it. I need to donate it to a school or orphanage for the culinarily challenged.


If you need to peel a lot of garlic, a simple trick:

  1. Trim off the stem of the bulb, then break apart into individual cloves.
  2. Place the cloves in a steel mixing bowl. Cover the mixing bowl with another one roughly the same size (a little telescoping is fine).
  3. With both hands holding them together, shake up and down such that the cloves bang around.
  4. Lift off one of the bowls—presto! Peeled cloves.

How many fingers are we supposed to finish with?



This trick, as well as the method shown in the video, are two techniques I learned this semester in Culinary School. Yay for useful education! :smiley:


I do this as well, but it takes me a lot longer to finish.

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I’ve seen this on many websites and have tried it many times. I’ve always peeled garlic like he does in this video: cut off the stem, a whack, and the skin pulls right off. Using that technique, I can peel the 3-4 I need in about 20 seconds. I’ve tried the bowl technique but it seems to work less well, take longer, and require more energy.

Maybe it’d be a different story if I had to peel 20 cloves.


I usually just threaten to stab a cook until they make me a nice garlic pureé


Or offer them a nice, shiny barometer.


Also depends if you want whole cloves, or if you’re going to crush them anyway.

(I used to have a garlic crusher, until I started going out with my wife: her mother used to teach cooking, and they laughed me out of using it.)

I’ll still slice garlic sometimes, so thin it would liquefy in the pan with a little oil. It’s a very good system.


Technique, technique, technique, I always say. Pépin is a superb technician.

Get a good chef’s knife with the curved blade. M. Pépin has a longer one than most cooking stores around here sell as the basic knife. Longer is better here, you’re able to get a better rocking motion and an easier dicing motion; a ten-inch blade is good.

One of the food-shopping/cooking shows on Radio-Canada had a piece on the reason why crushed garlic is so much stronger than whole garlic: two chemicals in the clove, when allowed to mixed together, make the strong garlicky flavour.

Copying and editing from the wiki entry: When fresh garlic is chopped or crushed, the enzyme alliinase converts alliin - a derivative of the amino acid cysteine - into allicin, which is responsible for the pungent fresh garlic flavour.

If the garlic is cooked whole first, the alliinase breaks down and is unable to convert the alliin into allicin when the clove is crushed, so it has that sweet roasted garlic flavour.


It’s really only useful if you need to peel several bulbs. For just one, I wouldn’t bother. But if you live in a household of multiple cooks fond of garlic, it’s a great way to ensure there’s always a fresh supply of cloves in the fridge. I recommend using only glass containers though, such as mason jars.


OMG, roasted garlic. I don’t think I’ve ever got roasted garlic as far as the kitchen table, I’ll just eat it straight from the garlic baker onto fresh bread, standing by the oven. (Partially because I only cook it for myself.)


Great knife skills and all but this isn’t quite a puree. This is a very fine mince but a puree is a cooked food that has been processed (and often strained) to a thick creamy paste or liquid. The origin of the word is the French feminine past participle of purer - which is to strain - unless of course the meaning of puree changed when I wasn’t looking.


You need garlic, too.

Wish I hadn’t spent that hour trying to do it with just a knife.


Peeling several bulbs is useful when you want to roast a large quantity and freeze it. I’ll do a kilogram of garlic bulbs in the oven, then squeeze them into ice cube trays and use them over six months to a year.


When my little brother was about 13, he asked for a garlic roaster for his birthday. He did get one!


Pepin is a fucking culinary master. His video on deboning chicken is just superb.


No more than you started with.