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Discover the Rubber Glove Trick for Easy Garlic Peeling

With garlic indispensable to cooking, it’s not surprising that there are more than a dozen hacks for peeling this spice like a pro. However, it is impossible to declare which one of them is the overall best. Choosing the right method to use highly depends on what you’re planning to cook, how much you need to peel, and how much time you have. When you want to do quick work of your garlic prep (and frankly, who doesn’t?) and prefer that its flavor doesn’t overpower a dish, turn an unused rubber glove into a DIY garlic peeler.

This trick we learned from chef Jamie Oliver starts with making a tube by cutting off one of the glove’s fingers and its tip. The resulting small, soft cylinder had a big enough circumference to fit a garlic clove. Place the garlic-stuffed tube on a flat surface and roll it back and forth, exerting a little pressure from your palm. When you remove the clove, its skin, including the parchment-like protective layers, will be loosened enough that it can be easily pulled off. And the process took no more than 60 seconds.

This quick trick is actually an inexpensive version of using a commercial garlic peeler. Made of silicone, the kitchen device uses friction to break the bond between the garlic and its skin. Although softer and less structured than a silicon cylinder, an improvised tube cut from a rubber glove works on the same principle.

Using this method keeps the garlic flavor mild and mellow

Rubber glove for a DIY garlic peeler

Jamie Oliver/YouTube

Aside from peeling garlic quickly, the rubber glove trick keeps cloves and their internal structures whole. This is important if you’re cooking something that needs only a mild infusion of flavor and you’d rather not use an alternative to garlic. By keeping them intact throughout the peeling process, the sulfur compounds and amino acids in the cloves remain separate. This prevents the formation of the compound allicin that’s responsible for the spice’s taste and odor. Using this hack will also keep your fingers from smelling intensely of garlic. 

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Working with a homemade rubber tube needs a little more elbow grease than a garlic peeler since it creates less friction than silicone. However, it’s handy for peeling smaller cloves without getting them bruised. And although you’d be peeling only one clove at a time, the rubber glove trick lets you work fast enough to go through a pile of garlic bulbs quickly. 

While this hack leaves you with one more thing to clean after cooking, it’s another way of repurposing clean kitchen gloves, aside from using them to make creamier mashed potatoes. Clean your improvised garlic peeler the way you would any regular rubber glove. Turn it inside out then soak it in soapy water for a few minutes before rinsing. Hang it to dry in a well-ventilated area and make sure it’s no longer damp before storing it so it’s safe to use again and again.

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