Cool Hack: Crush Garlic With A Rock & More Tips

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Here’s a kitchen tip sent in by Janet that is totally new to me and I think it’s fantastic:

Stack of Stones

Tipnut here’s a tip for crushing garlic that once you try it, you’ll never go back to the method you are now using (I guarantee it). It was taught to me by my mother who was from Hungary and I always assumed this was a common thing there, but the few Hungarian friends I have never knew about this.

Find a rock that is smooth and is about the size of your palm. Look for one that is comfortable and not too heavy in the hand. When you first pick the rock, run it through the dishwasher a few times and it’s ready to use. If you don’t have a dishwasher just wash it in hot soapy water with a bit of bleach.

To crush garlic, hold the rock and smash it on a clove. Pull out the skin and there you have it, crushed garlic ready to cook with. Cleaning the rock is a dream, just throw it in the dishwasher utensils basket and it’s perfect to use for years and years. I keep my rock in the utensils drawer in the space between the tray and the back of the drawer, I call it my kitchen rock.

When I demonstrated this to a friend of mine, she loved how easy it was but she couldn’t get used to the idea of a rock coming in contact with her food. She tweaked things to suit her better by taking a square of wax paper or a cleaned cereal liner bag and folding that over the clove before hitting it with the rock.

My advice is to choose a smooth rock instead of a jagged surface rock, it does the best job and the results are consistent.

Wow! I realize you can use a garlic press and they’re fairly economical to buy, but let’s face it–it takes more work cleaning out the little holes than it does to peel the clove and chop it by hand. Plus there’s always a part of the garlic that gets wasted. You could also use a knife with a large blade to smash cloves, that’s easy to do but it can be intimidating and I’m always a bit worried I’ll cut myself.

Thanks so much Janet for sharing this tip with all of us, I never would have thought to use a stone. They’re free, abundant and will last a lifetime–plus the cleaning job couldn’t be easier!

Kitchen Q&A

Bulb & ClovesHere are a few common questions and tips regarding garlic…

  1. What are some garlic equivalents? 1 medium clove = 1 teaspoon minced = 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt = 1/4 teaspoon granulated = 1/8 teaspoon powder. (see note below about clove size–halve if small clove, double if large clove).
  2. What does a clove equal minced? 1 small clove = 1/2 teaspoon minced; medium clove = 1 teaspoon minced; large clove = 2 teaspoons minced (these are approximate measurements).
  3. How should bulbs be stored? They should be kept cool with good air circulation (don’t refrigerate and don’t store sealed in a plastic container). Keep a bulb or two in a small bowl or basket on the kitchen counter if you use it daily, the rest can be stored in a basket in a cool, dark pantry to prolong shelf life.
  4. How can I store it once it’s minced? Put it in a small glass jar then cover with olive oil and refrigerate (use within the week). If you want to make big batches at a time, you can freeze it by storing in a small ziploc freezer bag, patting the garlic down into a thin thickness and to remove all the air, then pop in the freezer. Remove frozen pieces as you need by breaking off a chunk.
  5. Can you freeze whole bulbs? Yes you can! Freeze whole, unpeeled bulbs in a freezer bag then remove cloves as you need. You can also separate the cloves before freezing or place peeled cloves in an empty icecube tray, cover each with olive oil, freeze, then pop them out and freeze in a large bag or airtight container–grab a cube when you need it.
  6. Oops, there’s too much garlic in my dish…how to fix? Mix 1 teaspoon of sugar with two teaspoons of vinegar then mix with 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of water. Mix well then SLOWLY add to your cooked dish until you find an agreeable level of garlic taste. Just mix this in a little at a time since you may not need much!
  7. How do you roast it? This is very easy to do and it’s delicious in mashed potatoes, on meat and vegetables, slathered on bread and used in many other dishes. See this page for directions.
  8. Is there a way to make my own garlic salt? Sure! Grind dried garlic in a food processor until it’s a fine powder, measure then add 4 parts salt to one part garlic powder and mix for 2 seconds. Store in an airtight container.
  9. Any tips for removing garlic smell from hands? Here’s a few: Remove the smell by rubbing your fingers over a stainless steel spoon. You can also rub a couple crushed crackers between your hands to remove the smell.
  10. How do you peel cloves? For big batches dunk cloves for about 10 seconds in boiling water then strain and dunk in ice cold water. The cloves should pop out of their skins easily. If it’s just a few you need to peel, cut off one end of the garlic then peel off the skin with the blade of the knife. If the recipe calls for minced or crushed, just smash the clove with your knife (or rock as mentioned at the top of the page) and you’ll be able to pick out the skin easily.

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Published: March 23, 2009
Updated: September 7, 2012

What Readers Are Saying:
23 Comments to “Cool Hack: Crush Garlic With A Rock & More Tips”
  1. Sanya says:

    O.M.G. Best tip ever!!! I am so ready to ditch this garlic press, you have no idea!

  2. Lancey says:

    Note to self: Take a walk down by the river bank today, I’m getting me a kitchen rock! I agree with Tipnut, FANTASTIC TIP Janet!

  3. James says:

    Another option is to use a wooden spoon to crush the garlic, but I admit I’m diggin the kitchen rock idea. Off the top of my head I’m thinking it could be used for tenderizing meat, pound chicken breasts, crush bagged ice and roughly grind up some whole spices. Add the crushed garlic and how many kitchen gadgets will the rock replace? I need some snow to start melting before I can go rock hunting though. Kitchen rocks rock!

  4. Leslie says:

    I use a silicone garlic peeler and then chop the cloves but it’s not really much of a timesaver, I can totally see how using a rock speeds things up and makes the whole process way more simple. Now how do I explain to my kids why I have a rock in the dishwasher :P

  5. Anne B. says:

    I have used a small stone mortar and pestle for garlic for quite some time. It does the same things as the stones but allows for more choices for how crushed you want the garlic or if you want to add salt to the garlic. I just rinse it with hot water…does not need a dishwashing as the surface cleans well under running water. Life is too short to peel garlic or try to pick it out of a press!

  6. Christense says:

    I usually just use a knife. When my husband first bought me a cleaver I was sure I was going to lose a finger, but now I can’t live without it. The wider blade makes it easier to peel and crush in one swing, then use the wide blade to just scoop it up and toss it in the pot. It would seem counter-intuitive, but a good cleaver is also my choice for mincing garlic.

  7. Valerie says:

    Even easier: use a can of whatever is in your pantry.

  8. Debbie says:

    I`m getting me a kitchen rock asap

  9. alexandra says:

    Just take your cook’s knife (the big one) and put the blade flat surfaced on the clove. Give the blade of the knife a firm knock with your flat palmed hand, et voilá, clove de-pealed and smashed. All you have to do is smear the blade of the knife to one side over the clove and it is as fine as chopped. When you have the hang of it it is all in one move. Much faster and it saves another peace of dishware in the washer!

  10. CVenza says:

    I think this is a good idea too, thanks Janet :). After reading this and thinking about it, I am going to try a rock that is round in shape with a flatter bottom and has some weight to it, not too too heavy though. I am going keep it as an all purpose mallet so I can use it for other things and not just smashing the garlic, like James suggested.

  11. aj says:

    How primitive! I absolutely love the idea…like others have said, to use for other purposes like tenderizing meat and crushing/breaking up ice…how have we gotten so far away from how thing began? Now you can walk in a store and find 25 gadgets to buy for these things, but all we need is a Rock!
    Love it, Love it, Love it! Plus I like to go against the grain and be somewhat of a Rebel so I can’t wait until my friend visits and sees my Kitchen Rock.
    It will throw her for a loop…maybe I will tell her I got it from Pampered Chef, lol!

  12. Allison says:

    I’m with Leslie; I’d do it for the sheer fun of confusing people with rocks in the dishwasher ;)
    thanks for the tip!

  13. Robert C says:

    I’ve been cooking for years now and this is just a suggestion but I have always crushed garlic down to a manageable size by using the sauce pan I was going to use for sauteing. Just set the garlic on your cutting board (or counter) and give it a good whack. Instant garlic press.

  14. Adwait Ullal says:

    If you had asked any South Asian, where garlic peelers and other gadgets aren’t for the masses, you would’ve probably gotten this tip about 30 years. Oh wait! you probably didn’t exist then ;)

    • TipNut says:

      Oh yes I did, I existed for several years in fact :) . Thanks for the info Adwait, that’s neat to know that this was a common tool in South Asia.

  15. GarlicSmasher says:

    I typically use the bottom of my mortar and pestle. I just grab the mortar and smash the garlic. Then toss the garlic inside the mortor to work in salt and other herbs.

  16. indonesian says:

    I can’t believe this tips is so popular. Here in Indonesia, we crush garlic (and other spices) with stone everyday. We even can find custom made rock like this in marketplace very easily. Just search “ulekan” or “cobek” in google image. You will see rock with shape like dish, plus the crusher.

  17. Ed Peters says:

    When watching kitchen/cooking shows they always just used the flat blade of a chef’s knife with closed fist applied to the other side and that works fine, why the need of a special device?

  18. sara says:

    We do it all the time here in India. !!

  19. Ricardo says:

    In Spain we eat garlic every day and you do not need a stone. Just stand the garlic with the flat side down and give it a good whack with the palm of your hand just below the wrist. If it’s done properly than it will not crush the garlic but leave it whole and suitable for dicing or slicing depending on what it is to be used for. This is also how the chefs in the restaurants here do it.

  20. kathy moore says:

    Can we wrap kitchen rocks and give them as gifts? It might be one of the most useful gifts one could give — wedding gifts, housewarmings, Christmas – the possibilities are endless!!!

  21. Handful says:

    Cool! I hate the garlic press – wasteful and a pain in the a** to clean! I use a knife or my morter and pestule but a kitchen rock sounds fun. Funny I haven’t seen any in the gadget asile at Wally World!

    Interesting about the other cultures. What one takes for granted, another sees as unique!


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