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How to Crush, Smash and Chop Garlic

Everybody has their own special way to crush or chop garlic. Some do it manually and others prefer a garlic press or crusher.
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Everybody has their own special way to crush or chop garlic. Some do it manually and others prefer a garlic press or crusher.

There is just something about garlic!  Imagine, what makes the taste buds tingle more than the aroma of roasted garlic or the deep, pungent smell of a garlic-rich sauce or curry simmering on the stove?

Here in Durban, garlic and ginger are a popular mix, especially for curries. And people have their own reasons for preferring it from a bottle, or fresh from the greengrocer.

Recipes usually call of one or two cloves of crushed garlic – not sliced or chopped or minced but crushed. So what is really the best way to crush garlic?

Best Way to Crush Garlic

To crush a clove of garlic, place the clove on a cutting board and use a knife to trim off the tip of the root. Removing the root end will make it easier to remove the skin later on.

Take a heavy knife, such as a chef’s knife, and place the blade flat on the clove (sharp side facing away from you). Use the heel of your hand to press the blade down on the clove.

Time-saver: You don’t even need to peel the clove before crushing as the skin loosens when you crush the clove.

The skin of the broken clove should be loosened and easy to peel away with your fingers.

OK, now you have a naked clove of crushed garlic – this is where the slicing and chopping and actual crushing begins.

Chop Garlic, Crush, Mince or Mash

The more you damage garlic’s cell walls when you crush the clove, the more sulphide-transforming enzymes you release—and with them, more pungent garlic flavour.

Since crushing breaks the most cells, crushed garlic cloves taste stronger, whereas sliced or coarsely chopped garlic cloves taste milder. Intact garlic cloves are mildest of all.

Mashing minced garlic with a pinch of coarse salt can help tame the harsh taste

Garlic contains a number of flavour compounds that aren’t really activated until they mix. Crushing it breaks down some cell walls (at least, more efficiently than slicing or mincing) and allows the various compounds to mingle, giving garlic its characteristic flavour.

You may crush it further, chop it, or mince it or make a paste.

Peel Garlic in the Microwave

You can also peel garlic by zapping the cloves in the microwave the. Place the clove in the microwave and cook for 5 to 10 seconds. The garlic clove will slide out of its skin. You can even peel entire heads or bulbs of garlic this way by putting them in for 15 to 20 seconds. Be aware, however, that this method could make the taste of the garlic slightly less pungent.

Garlic Chopping Tips

Cutting a garlic clove breaks its cells and releases stored enzymes that react with oxygen. Letting this chopped garlic stand for 10 to 15 minutes before cooking allows the compounds to fully develop before heat inactivates the enzymes.

Sea salt is helpful to sprinkle over the surface of the cutting board or over the clove of garlic itself. It helps to both soak up the natural juices that are released when the garlic is crushed and also to steady the clove under what could be a slippery knife.

Health Benefits of Garlic

Apart from the fact that garlic is delicious (some believe it is essential), it also contains vitamins C and B6, manganese, selenium and other known antioxidants. Garlic is thought to be effective against high blood pressure, heart disease, cholesterol and a variety of other illnesses.

How to Get Rid of Garlic Breath and Garlic Smell from Hands

Chewing on some parsley or drinking milk is said to sweeten your breath, but nothing really helps much if you over-indulge. To get rid of garlic breath: Brush, floss, chew on some parsley, or drink milk—its fats and water help deodorize volatile compounds.

To get rid of garlic smell from your hands: Rub garlicky-smelling hands with a lemon wedge, salt, baking soda or maybe even a piece of stainless steel, like your kitchen tap (molecules in steel are thought to block odour-producing reactions). Rinse hands well with water.

At Household Plastic we have a wide range of chopping board and mats, garlic crushers, knives and storage containers.

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How to Crush, Smash and Chop Garlic
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