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Garlic Preparation and Storage

There are many different ways to prepare and store quickly peeled garlic, and some are absolutely better than others. You can read about all of the health benefits of garlic but the most important high level concept is that the “healthy” part of garlic, allicin, is created enzymatically when the garlic cell walls are broken. Consequently, anything that decreases the enzyme efficacy or reduces the chemical reaction stability will limit the multiple health benefits of garlic.

Cutting Garlic

Cutting Garlic

The most common ways to cut garlic are to chop, dice or mince. All three words mean essentially the same thing - to cut garlic with a knife into smaller pieces - and their difference simply refers to the size. Chop is usually relatively large, chunky pieces of the garlic clove; dice often times refers to uniform squares roughly ⅛ inch in size; and mince is also uniform squares that are 1/16 inch or smaller in size. From a health perspective, cutting garlic activates the reaction to converts the phytonutrient alliin into allicin. It’s important to note that this reaction can take 5-10 minutes to stabilize so make sure to give your garlic several minutes to settle before you throw it in your stir fry or soup.

Pressing Garlic

Pressing Garlic

Another very common way to prepare garlic is by pushing it through a garlic presser to create a raw garlic puree. A garlic press is a kitchen tool, often metal or plastic, that has a basket (that holds the garlic cloves) flanked on either side by long handles connected a grate with holes and a flat, hard surface. With a firm handshake motion, you squeeze the two handles together crushing the garlic against, and ultimately through, the grate of holes.

From a health perspective, pressing garlic is actually more beneficial than cutting garlic because it more uniformly breaks down the cell walls and triggers a more comprehensive reaction to create allicin. Just make sure to let the garlic sit for a few minutes to allow the enzymatic process stabilize, and make sure to use or store your pressed garlic shortly after preparation because the half life of allicin at room temperature is very quick.

Storing Garlic

Garlic is such a popular herb, and has been along for so long, that we have come up with multiple different ways to store garlic effectively. There is absolutely some nuance to make sure you aren’t accidentally hurting yourself, so make sure to read all the tips below and pick the method that makes sense for you.

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