A burst of the ecstatic flavor with the iconic delicious aroma – garlic cloves are best used with specific cuts, but personally, I like my garlic cloves fine. That’s why I believe that knowing the right skills like HOW TO MINCE GARLIC is essential and could turn any home cook into a versatile chef.
I find minced garlic a very useful ingredient in most of my meals. I often use garlic cloves to heighten the aroma of my dishes. It’s so quick and easy! If you think that mincing is hard, then I’m gonna ease you into the idea that it could also be a stress-releasing activity. So, let’s get to know our garlic clove a little better.
Health Benefits of Garlic
Garlic has been celebrated around the world for its miraculous health benefits. From ancient times to the modern era, garlic has been part of healthy diets and tasty culinary masterpieces. So, what makes garlic so important?
As some of the ingredients we’ve discussed before, garlic is also a nutrient-dense food. It has high levels of nutrients but low in calories. Manganese, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, and Fiber are just a few of the benefits of this wondrous plant.
Active compounds in garlic can also reduce blood pressure and prevent chronic heart diseases such as heart attacks and strokes. The health benefits of garlic can be evidently seen when taken in high dosages. This is good news for all the garlic lovers out there.
Maybe the best benefit of garlic is that it helps combat sickness and strengthen your immunity against the common cold and the flu.
Garlic is easy to love especially when used in the right dishes. So, include garlic in your diet and let it help you have a healthier body.
Always Get Fresh Garlic
I always say that the best dishes use the freshest ingredients. Agree? This is also true for garlic. Although most people think that garlic is just garlic, I have a few simple tricks to find out if your garlic is as fresh as the Prince of Bel-air.
- Just by looking at the bulb of garlic, you wouldn’t be able to tell the garlic is fresh because the outer skin of the bulb is covering the cloves. Ask for a sample of the clove (if not yet displayed), if the clove is more yellow than white it’s probably bad and it won’t give any additional flavor to your dish. Choose a garlic clove that’s whiter and which means its fresher.
- Smell the enticing aroma of garlic! Fresh garlic gives off a rich, pungent, and spicy aroma. Since smell is 80% taste, smelling the garlic clove is a good indicator. If it gives off that iconic garlicky smell, then you’re one lucky gal.
- Touch it! As for some other fruits and vegetables, firmness is a great factor for freshness. Give the garlic clove a little pinch. You’d want to feel a plump and firm clove. This means that you’re touching a good piece. If it’s squishy, its best to avoid it.
Crushed vs Minced Garlic
You might argue that how you prepare garlic doesn’t really matter whether it’s crushed or minced. Is crushed garlic the same as minced garlic? To answer that question let’s take a closer look at each type.
Crushed Garlic, in the simplest way, are garlic cloves initially cracked or flattened so that you could easily peel off the skin.
The crushed garlic is best used for frying and garnishing. One popular way to use this is to fry it along with cooked rice for garlic fried rice or while searing a steak.
Minced Garlic requires more effort and finesse. The end product mostly resembles a pasty texture best used in flavoring ground meat and making sauces.
In some parts of the world, minced garlic is used as an additional flavor and as a preservative. Garlic bread is one popular recipe you can make with minced garlic.
So NO, Crushed Garlic is different from Minced Garlic cloves.
What is the best way to mince garlic?
There are many ways to mince a garlic clove but I personally prefer mincing the traditional way. It gives me a feeling that I’m literally putting in effort in my food. But if you’re in a hurry, you could use kitchen gadgets like the ones that I’ll be showing later.
Crack the whole bulb so that you could easily peel the annoying skin away. You can do this by using the flat side of your knife to reveal all the cloves inside. Each clove will have a thin layer of skin, you can remove this the same way.
Simply press on the garlic clove with the flat side of your knife and slowly apply pressure until it cracks and just peels away the dry parts. An easier way to do this is to simply cut off the root part of the bulb and peel away. From here I can show you three ways to mince garlic.
Using a Knife
The first way to mince garlic is by using your trusted knife. Start by removing the hard root part because this isn’t edible. Then carefully cut the clove into thin slices. Don’t worry if you have super thin slices, we want it that way. Once you’ve done this, cut the slices crosswise until you end up with small bits.
The reason why you should be careful in this step is that:
- You want the finished product as smooth as possible so you have to avoid big chunks.
- You’re using a knife, always be careful with knives.
Now you could start the actual mincing. Hold the pointy end of the knife down with the sharp edge facing your garlic bits and start making a fast chopping motion with the handle of the knife.
The key to mincing is to make sure that the sharp edge of the knife doesn’t leave the chopping board. Keep doing this until you end up with a paste-like consistency. You can now apply this to your favorite Garlic bread recipe or mix it in dumplings or sausages.
Using Garlic Hand Press
If you have a fast-paced day ahead, try using a Garlic Hand Press. It’s a relatively new culinary invention that would make your mincing life easier. Just lay your garlic on your chopping board and press the sharp part of the grater-like tool on your garlic cloves with all your might. And you’ll have minced garlic in no time.
Using Mortar and Pestle
This last technique is my favorite, using Mortar and Pestle. Although these tools were discovered way back pre-history, it still remains relevant today for any dish and spice you have to prepare. Simply smash the garlic cloves using the tool. Since we are aiming for a paste-like consistency, we’ll have to keep smashing the garlic bits for a little while but I assure you it’s all going to be worth it.
Now, you might notice that if you put whole garlic cloves in this tool, you’ll get jumpy ingredients and might just make a mess. There are two ways we could approach this problem.
- First, we can cut the cloves into slices before we can start crushing the bits.
- The other way is to press the garlic until its flat. Slowly squish each piece with a slow and grinding motion until the garlic cloves are flat. Then you could start smashing.
What I love about the last part is that, although it takes up a few more minutes, you can do this activity to release some stress. So, if you have strong feelings about something or anything for that matter, mince some garlic!
Of course, it would be better if the feelings are positive because every emotion you put in a dish would always translate into the flavor. 😉
Proper Storage of Minced Garlic
Minced garlic is often, and should be, stored in an airtight container, this itself makes the garlic last longer. But if it’s frozen or refrigerated it would last a lot longer.
Some businesses sell bottled minced garlic submerged in unflavored oil or olive oil. These usually have a best-before-date written around the packaging. For natural minced garlic, the average shelf life is 18- 24 months. You may also use this technique in preserving your own homemade minced garlic just make sure to thoroughly clean and dry your airtight container.
Garlicky Recipes To Explore
Now that you know how to work around with garlic, put it to good use with any of these garlicky tasty and fragrant recipes below. Enjoy!
- How to Make Garlic Butter
- Garlic Knots Bread
- Garlic Mashed Red Potatoes
- Honey Garlic Chicken
- Homemade Garlic Bread