Back to basics–The stinking rose, allium sativum, or just plain ol’ garlic!

Aaahhhhhh, garlic. Well actually, after eating it you might not want sigh like that if you’re in the close proximity of another human being. Your dog, on the other hand, will love it. What dog doesn’t like the smell of rancid garbage? 🙂

Why are some people so deathly afraid of garlic and garlic breath?? Ok yes, I get it–on a date it’s a really, really bad idea. Trust me-I have first hand experience on how something so tiny as a few garlic cloves can turn a first date into a repulsive memory. But that story is for another time and perhaps another blog altogether. And no! It wasn’t me that was the garlic offender..come on, I know better than that!

But in all seriousness–garlic is great! Wonderful! Spectacular! Can you tell I love it?! If you go back through my recipes you’ll see that I use it in almost every single one. There are over 300 varieties of this pungent little sucker and it is part of the onion family which also includes leek and shallots.  Garlic is very beneficial to your health as it helps with circulation, provides support to your immune systems, has anti-cancer agents, is loaded with vitamins and nutrients, can help lower cholesterol, and can even help to regulate blood pressure! Can I get a what what?! Not bad for such a small stinky bulb!

If you’re one of those people who still use that chopped garlic from the jar…why?? No seriously, why? Is it for convenience? If so, this post will help you a great deal because I am going to show you how easy it is to chop garlic in a matter of seconds. Fresh garlic is sooooo much more flavorful and that jarred stuff just doesn’t taste “right”, in my opinion. Why buy the jarred stuff when fresh garlic is so cheap?

I think that most people’s  fears with chopping garlic stem from not really not knowing  the proper technique. The skin can be hard to separate and maybe you don’t want your hands to smell like garlic. Rest assured, I am here to quell your fears and show you an easy, quick, stink free way to enjoy fresh garlic!

The easiest way to separate the skin from the clove is to put the clove on a cutting board and with the side of your knife smash down hard on that garlic clove. You can use the heel of your hand or a fist.  Two things about this: 1) this is a great way to take out your aggression; 2) make sure that while taking about this said aggression on your innocent cloves of garlic that you are careful not to slice open your hand on the blade of the knife. No one likes bloody garlic in their food. The skin should magically separate from the clove. Now you’re ready to chop! This whole process should  take less than a minute! See? Easy!

Aggression releasing fist smashing method!

Heel of your hand method

Now, what if you need a lot of garlic? Lets say a whole bulb for a big recipe or maybe for warding off evil vampires or stalkerish ex-boyfriends. This video originally from Saveur.com (but found on the Huffington Post) shows you how to peel an entire head of garlic is less than 10 seconds!!Uh-oh, you really have no excuse now not to use the fresh stuff!   Although I don’t agree with him about it getting under your fingernails (ew) or being messy, it’s a nice little video.

If you’re trying to avoid that I just ate an entire bulb of garlic and now my breath smells like a homeless man’s feet feeling, then chewing on fresh parsley or mint can greatly reduce garlic breath. Also lemon (which is readily available if you’re out at a restaurant) helps to get rid of the pesky odor. Lemonade works well but just chomping down on a good ol’ lemon wedge will work wonders. Pucker up! I’ve also heard that milk helps, but this one I can’t confirm. What really helps is when your significant other or the people you’re hanging out with also eat the garlic. That way you all have garlic breath and no one can tell the difference! See how easy we solved that problem??

If you’ve decided to chop up your own cloves of garlic due to this post, first off—-high-five, booty bump, fist pump, whatever! And second, now you’re probably mad at me because your breath smells fine but your hands reek. Don’t fear–lemon juice to the rescue again! Who knew lemon was such a bad ass, right?! Stainless steel also works to a certain degree. There’s even a stainless steel “bar of soap” to keep around your kitchen sink.

The magic stainless steel soap!

To sum it up–don’t miss out on the great flavor that garlic gives a dish just because you’re afraid of the way your breath or hands are going to smell. And do yourself a favor, try out the fresh stuff. I have a feeling that you might just throw that jar of garlic away! 🙂

Buon appetito!

–Melissa

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Categories: Back to Basics

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One Comment on “Back to basics–The stinking rose, allium sativum, or just plain ol’ garlic!”

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