The latest garlic peeling hack makes the rounds

Perhaps you have already seen the mesmerizing video – a pair of hands, a sharp knife, a few twists, and an entire head of garlic peeled as easy as 1-2-3. This is the latest garlic peeling trick circulating on social media, following other hacks such as the two metal bowls method, the microwave method, and the high pressure air hose method (how many people have one of those handy near the kitchen?). So how well does this latest method work? It depends on who you ask.

peeling garlic

Many people who have tried the hack posted pictures of mangled cloves, but some (like my friend and EYB Member Jean, whose photo is posted above), have been successful. Those who did not achieve the same result gave different opinions on the factors that influenced the outcome, including the type of garlic (softneck vs. hardneck) or the age of the garlic. Others think it is more a matter of technique. Helen Rosner, food writer for The New Yorker, tried the method and after a little practice had the cloves “popping out like champagne corks.”

Regardless of the ultimate success of the method, these hacks will always be widely shared because of our desire to find easier ways of doing mundane tasks, says Eater’s Jaya Saxena. We get frustrated when the hack does not work as advertised, but we shouldn’t, says Saxena, because what the these videos “sell is the idea that anyone can be an expert immediately.” We want the solution to be effortless, disregarding the amount of practice it might take to make it appear that way. 

I tried the hack myself and if I had posted a photo, you would have only seen mangled garlic pieces. My garlic was a bit long in the teeth, so that may have been part of the problem. (Yeah, that’s the reason, my clumsy knife handling had nothing at all to do with it.) I do not need to peel that much garlic very often, so I will not invest a lot of effort into learning this skill. Plus it does nothing for the part of garlic handling that I find most tedious, which is finely chopping the cloves. 

Have you tried this hack? If so, how did it work for you?

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9 Comments

  • Jenny  on  June 18, 2019

    Nay nay – no way that works. 🙂

  • hillsboroks  on  June 19, 2019

    I noticed that they are not using a knife but rather 1/2 of a pair of kitchen shears and the garlic looks really young and fresh. I would be willing to try it once. Maybe the thicker kitchen shear makes it easier to skewer the garlic clove without cutting it up?

  • eliza  on  June 19, 2019

    I went straight to my kitchen and tried this out. I used half my kitchen shears as noted above. I'd have to say it didn't work that well for me. But maybe with practice I could be more successful.

  • hillsboroks  on  June 19, 2019

    I just watched the video again and noticed that they are stabbing the kitchen shear into the side of the clove about 2/3 of the way from the bottom. I think it must be a combination of the kitchen shear, the place you stab it and the twist you give it. It would definitely take practice on a few heads of garlic.

  • matag  on  June 22, 2019

    I USE A LOT OF GARLIC SO I TIRED…LOTS OF BROKEN CLOVES …LOTS OF MESS

  • dmco6863  on  June 26, 2019

    My husband showed me the video and immediately thought it was rigged, just like the pineapple hack. Anyway, last night's dish required several cloves if garlic, new bulb in hand I tried to recreate this magical technique. Fail! Each clove split in two no matter where I stabbed it.
    I'll stick to laying the cloves in their side and squash them under a knife technique.

  • cellenly  on  July 7, 2019

    I used a kitchen knife sheer as noted above, I had mixed results with the 3 bulbs I peeled. I tried the knife a couple of times and it became quickly apparent that the thin knife blade just splintered the clove too easily, so I went back to the knife sheer. The first clove never worked. I popped out about 80% of the cloves like the video on my 2nd & 3rd bulb. It was no help for the thin inner cloves at the center. The remaining 20% had started to splinter so I got my knife and popped it out like I would if I had been sectioning an orange. I'll have to try with another round of garlic cloves of different age/variety. I have bulk recipes where I throw in about 15 cloves in a blender for a marinade or need 40 cloves of sliced garlic. If this works, it would definitely save me time.

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