Thursday, 24 June 2010

Garlic preparation: two methods for crushing

I’ve seen people struggling with all sorts of ways to prepare crushed garlic for cooking. One of the more tedious tasks, it’s usually foisted onto the designated sous chef — in my home, Loved One.

But having discovered the perfect garlic press in Ikea, I’ve never looked back. I bought a load for my friends and they seem very happy with it.

The Ikea marvel is different from all the others because it has a large barrel into which you can cram entire fat cloves without them slipping out. It even separates the outer skin, squeezing the flesh through the holes and leaving the skin behind.

The only drawback is that the metal seems quite soft and over time (two years) you see little bits missing. I’m onto my second in about five years.

This may be obvious to some, but here’s how I prepare my garlic. I’m using the larger fresh elephant garlic here because it’s in season. It isn’t as strong as the common supermarket variety so you need more of it. The skin is softer and doesn’t have to be removed for use in the garlic press, but for the purposes of this demonstration I’m showing you the easy way to remove the skin. (Click on pix for larger images.)

What you need

Assemble garlic bulb, press, large knife and a bowl.

Skinning garlicDeskinning garlic clove

The secret of removing the skin without it cutting up under your nails is to give it a bash with the blade of a large knife, holding it flat by the handle in one hand and thumping down on the flat of the blade with the heel of the other.

Preparing garlicSkinned garlic clove

This splits the skin away from the clove so you can easily pick it off.

Ready to crush in the press

Place the clove into the garlic press …

… and squeeze.

Garlic grows from the barrel of a garlic press

The finished product.

Pure and simple. Pure unadulterated crushed garlic with no salt or other additives.

Pasting with salt as an abrasive
The real chef’s method but with a high salt content.

Peel your garlic cloves, cut off the tough end and slice the clove finely.
Slice crossways so you have tiny diced bits.
Sprinkle liberally with salt.
Place wide blade of knife on top at an angle of about 15 or 20 degrees (almost flat) and press down making tiny circular movements.
The salt acts as an abrasive and you end up with a fine paste depending on how long you keep it up.

On a health note, freshly crushed garlic is better for your heart than processed. Garlic’s beneficial health properties may be due more to the hydrogen sulphide content than its antioxidants as previously thought. Science Daily

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