A garlic-peeling hack has set the internet on fire. So we gave it a go
And it works, sort of. But you’ll need to work on your wrist-flicking technique
When it comes to peeling garlic, this writer has tried almost every conceivable method to make the process faster and less bothersome.
Cloves in a jar shaken like maracas? Check.
The garlic-press method? Check.
Fingernail peeling? Check.
Gently and then not so gently attacking cloves with a sharp implement? Check.
Rubber tubing? Check.
Lazy chopped garlic from M&S, Tesco or Lidl? Um, check.
Virtually everything has been tried and virtually nothing works.
The video suggests that if you hold a head in a particular way, use a particular knife to pierce individual cloves, and then twist just so, they will come away already peeled. Minds blown
The jar trick is – to be very kind – absolutely rubbish. The idea is that you put the cloves in a glass jar, then vigorously shake it for 20 seconds or so, at which point the cloves will be divested of their outer garments faster than a burlesque dancer at the Moulin Rouge.
Sadly, it does not work at all. Some cloves do actually end up peeled. But most don’t, and the danger of repetitive strain injury is always present. And then you have to wash the poxy jar, your spirit crushed like the garlic isn’t.
Rubbing cloves vigorously while they are encased in rubber tubing can be a magical experience. But the success of this method depends greatly on the garlic used: cheap heads bought at big supermarkets are, generally speaking, incredibly resistant to the charms of a hosepipe.
Peeling by hand is slow and frustrating, while the knife technique is pretty dangerous, all things considered.
And, obviously, prechopped garlic is wrong on so many levels: it is overpriced, underflavoured and can’t possibly be good for the environment, what with all the processing and packing involved.
So when we came across a new garlic hack on the internet we were only delighted.
The short video, which originated in Canada and has already had more than 15 million views on Twitter, suggests that if you hold a head in a particular way, use a particular knife to pierce individual cloves while they are still attached to the bulb, and then twist just so, the cloves will come away already peeled.
Minds blown. The internet was beside itself last night.
We have been here before, of course. Or, at least, we have been to a place close to here before. A couple of months ago the internet told the world it had been peeling pineapples incorrectly for ever. The video, which appeared mysteriously, as if from the gods, suggested that if we all just twisted the pineapple in a certain way, juicy pieces of fruit would elegantly separate from the core and allow us to eat them most genteelly.
So The Irish Times gave the groundbreaking method a whirl. It was not a triumph. We ended up tearing apart a blameless piece of fruit with our bare hands as if it had done us some terrible wrong. It was ugly, it was messy and it left us with barely any pineapple to eat.
So experience of the lies the internet tells should have meant we approached this new garlic-peeling hack with cautious scepticism.
But we didn’t. We approached it with joy in our hearts. Marie-Claire Digby, the Irish Times food writer, supplied us with a couple of types of garlic and a range of implements, and away we went.
We had dry heads of garlic, two types, and heads that had been soaked in water – cheffy folk had given us this tip.
Once we got over the shock of almost severing an artery we were dismayed to see that all we had succeeded in doing was to turn a perfectly fine head of garlic into mush
We started with the most dangerous-looking blade and the least attractive head of garlic. Once we got over the shock of almost severing an artery we were dismayed to see that all we had succeeded in doing was to turn a perfectly fine head of garlic into mush.
So we tried several other implements, and although we were able to partially peel some of the cloves, it was not the joyous experience the internet had led us to believe it would be.
Using the more expensive purple garlic, unsoaked, the results were slightly better, but still not good.
Our food writer then went in search of better implements for the experiment. She came back from the catering supply company Sweeney O’Rourke with a chilli knife that looked both terrifying and promising, plus an oyster shucker.
We started with the chilli knife. Things went awry as soon as it was introduced to the soaked head of garlic. It made bits of it, nearly cut a finger to pieces and peeled precisely no garlic.
So then we tried the oyster shucker.
Amazingly, it worked.
Did it work brilliantly? No, no it did not.
But we were able to peel some cloves of garlic directly from the bulb with a single flicking movement. All told, we peeled three or four cloves fairly successfully in maybe 15 seconds.
We reckon if we stick with it, and keep practising, we will reach the promised land of effortlessly peeled garlic cloves at some point in the future. It might not be today. It might not be tomorrow, but it will happen. And when it does, the world – or our little part of it – will be a better place.