Give Yourself the Gift of Pre-Peeled Garlic

Sure, you can peel garlic one clove at a time. But pre-peeled garlic tastes great and saves you the frustration.

Published Feb. 9, 2022.

I love garlic and you probably do, too. So I don’t need to tell you that garlic makes many foods taste better, whether it’s spaghetti and meatballs or bulgogi or just plain mashed potatoes. 

But I don’t love peeling garlic. It doesn’t take all that much time, but even a relatively quick task can feel like an eternity when you end up with sticky, papery garlic skins glued to your cutting board or knife or fingers or sweater. 

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What if I told you that you didn’t have to suffer? Save time, keep your temper, and buy prepeeled garlic. It’s just as good as the heads at the supermarket. Sometimes it’s even better. If you’ve ever broken open a head of garlic and gotten a dusty, moldy, wizened, or sprout-laden clove, you know that “fresh” garlic can be anything but. 

You will never have this problem with the prepeeled cloves, which are usually in pristine condition: firm, clean, moist, white and ready to go. (What’s more, if they’re not in good shape, you can see right away and avoid them, unlike the mysterious paper-clad heads of garlic.)

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Just as important: Pre-peeled garlic tastes nearly identical to the fresh stuff, as we found in an extensive tasting of garlic substitutes. It’s perhaps a bit milder, but most of the folks who did our tasting could not tell the difference. 

Pre-peeled garlic can cost a bit more: At my local Chinese-run grocery, a small bag costs $2.99, about twice the price of the equivalent two heads of garlic at Kroger.

But I’m willing to pay that small up-charge. Why fuss if you don’t have to? Embrace the convenience of pre-peeled cloves. They will make your life—and dinner prep—a lot easier. You can find them in many supermarkets. If the cloves seem damp within their bag or plastic container, dry them off a bit with a towel to forestall mold development. And then use them with abandon. Garlic bread, garlic confit, skordalia: all frustration-free. Thank me later—from a distance, please.

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