Here’s a kitchen tip sent in by Janet that is totally new to me and I think it’s fantastic:
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!
Here are a few common questions and tips regarding garlic…
- 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).
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.