Ina Garten's Lightning-Fast Method For Peeling A Lot Of Garlic

Garlic is one of the oldest crops, first used more than 5,000 years ago by ancient Egyptians in their everyday diets and for medicinal purposes (so much so that it was even found within their tombs). With today's technology, modern humans have a much easier time dealing with garlic in bulk, especially when it comes to peeling the aromatic.

Navigating these allium bulbs is enough of a culinary burden that tips for easy ways to peel garlic are all over the internet. Because, when you come across some online recipes that call for as many as 100 cloves, you'll need all the help you can get to prepare the bulbs and turn them into a delicious dish.

It comes as no surprise, then, that some of the people with the best ideas for peeling a lot of garlic all at once are famous chefs, like Ina Garten. The Barefoot Contessa has a quick and easy way to prepare the staple ingredient that only requires some boiling water.

How Ina Garten quickly peels garlic in bulk

Ina Garten lays out her professional garlic peeling tip in her "Cook Like A Pro" book, while sharing a recipe for chicken marbella — a dish in which chicken is marinated in olive oil and vinegar and is paired with capers, olives, and a whole lot of garlic (anywhere from 15-20 cloves).

On the recipe page, Garten gives her tip in the margins of the page, sharing that the best way to peel a good number of bulbs is to boil some water, separate the cloves, and then blanch them in the hot water for around 15-30 seconds, adding a bit more time if the cloves are larger in size. 

Once the boiling time is up, then place the garlic in a bath of cold ice water (this helps the bulbs from cooking or losing their flavor and makes them cool off quicker so you can handle them). Adding these steps, says Garten, will help loosen the peels so they come right off.

More tips and tricks for working with garlic

Ina Garten isn't the only famous chef with a specific way that she likes to peel a lot of garlic simultaneously. There are several other chef-approved methods when it comes to getting rid of each clove's papery thin shell.

One of Martha Stewart's best hacks for home chefs is that, when she has a lot of garlic cloves to work with, she brings out two bowls (preferably the same size) or a pot and a lid, then puts the cloves in one receptacle and uses the other as a lid, shaking the makeshift contraption until all the garlic is peel-less. Agitating garlic in a jar has the same effect. Lorena Garcia prefers to put all of the garlic that she needs in the microwave for 10 seconds. When she takes the bulbs out, the peels come right off the clove.

If all else fails, and you're still frustrated with how difficult it can be to work with garlic, go ahead and buy a bag of pre-peeled bulbs — no one will ever know.