How To Mince and Store Garlic

March 19, 2013

Here is a tutorial on how to mince garlic in 3 easy steps using just a knife (tips on storing garlic at the end of this post.) But before we get to that, here is the scoop on what options you have regarding using minced garlic in cooking, ordered from easiest to most time-consuming.

  • You can buy minced garlic in a jar. Grocery stores typically carry decently-sized jars for about $2.00, and they will last you for quite a while if they also have olive oil in them. You won’t get as robust a flavor using this type of garlic, but if it’s going to mean the difference between using and not using garlic in your cooking, go ahead and get it.
  • You can also get a garlic press such as this one. They’re simple to use; usually you can just place a clove of garlic in the press—skin and all—and squeeze the handles together to get freshly minced garlic with minimal effort. (This is my favorite option!)
  • Mince it yourself with a chef’s knife. See how below.

1. Free the cloves!
An easy way to get the cloves out of the garlic bulb is to press down on the bulb firmly with the palms of your hands. The outer layers will separate, and you can take out as many cloves as you need.

2. Remove the skin on each clove.

Removing the skin can be tricky. First cut off the little root end of the clove. Then loosen the skin by laying the knife horizontally on the top surface of the clove and smacking down on the knife firmly with your palm. Finally, peel.

3. Chop away!

Yep, you’re basically just chopping away here. Be sure to use a good, sharp knife. If your mincing isn’t going as you’d hoped, it may be because your knife is dull. Start by slicing in one direction, keeping your fingertips tucked in. Cut with a rocking motion, where you’re keeping the tip of the knife on the cutting board and rocking the back of the knife up and down to chop. After slicing in one direction, slice in the perpendicular direction. Finish by changing your grip of the knife and tapping the knife up and down to chop the garlic more finely.

 
…And here’s how to store your garlic.
  • Leftover minced garlic can be kept in the fridge in an airtight container for a few days. Do not store it with olive oil—you’ll run the risk of botulism. (Jarred minced garlic that does so has extra additives for a reason!) The freezer is also an option, but the flavor won’t be as good.
  • Peeled cloves that have been removed from the bulb can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for about a week or two. Unpeeled cloves last even longer, especially when stored with uncooked rice—up to two or three weeks.
  • Bulbs should be kept in a cool, dry place where air can flow. An open container such as a paper bag or cardboard box works best. They will keep for 2 to 3 months this way. Once you see green sprouts on them, throw them out.

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