Garlic is the unsung hero in almost any savoury dish you care to mention. With its pungent, slightly sweet flavour, it is used to add depth to food all around the world, from Southeast Asia to Latin America. It is also thought to have several health benefits, like improving heart health and giving your immune system a boost.
The phytochemicals responsible for that distinctive garlic taste are only produced when the cells are damaged, so the more you break up the garlic, the stronger the flavour will be. A slightly crushed clove will give your dish a subtle, sweet garlic flavour, while slicing or chopping will release a more pungent flavour, and mincing or mashing your garlic will produce the strongest flavour of all.
Garlic Crushing Steps and Tools
Crushing garlic can seem a bit tricky at first, especially when it comes to removing the papery outer skin, but it really couldn’t be simpler if you know how. Here we have three easy ways to crush garlic, depending on the tools you have available.
The simplest way to crush garlic is using a garlic press, a useful gadget that can be found in most cookware stores.
Remove the skin first by placing your garlic on a clean surface and pressing down firmly with the heel of your hand to break the skin, then peel it off with your fingers.
A press will produce very finely crushed garlic, which means maximum garlic flavour in your cooking. But if you want something a bit more subtle, or you don’t want to pay out for more equipment, you can also crush garlic with a broad-bladed knife.
Place your garlic on a clean surface and remove the root with your knife. Lay the flat side of the blade over the garlic, making sure the cutting edge is pointed away from you, then press down on it with the heel of your hand. The skin will now be easy to remove, and you will have a slightly crushed clove for adding a hint of flavour to your cooking. For a medium or strong flavour, you can also use the knife to dice the crushed garlic and grind it into a paste. Take a look at this short video to find out how.
You can even use a flat rock from the garden to crush garlic. Choose one that fits easily into your hand, and make sure you clean it thoroughly, either by running it through the dishwasher a few times, or washing it with hot water, soap and a little bleach. Wrap the garlic in a square of parchment paper and hit it with the flat side of the rock until the skin is easy to peel, then either use it as it is, or hit it a few more times for a stronger flavour.
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