Kitchen Tools Recipes

For the Love of Garlic

Fresh garlic is a wonderful thing. Did you know that if you rub a garlic clove over the bottom of your feet you will soon have garlic breath? But I prefer my garlic to not have touched feet, and instead cook with it frequently. However, we can’t always find fresh garlic, and frankly, even when we can, we’re admittedly a bit lazy when it comes to peeling garlic and mincing it each time we want to use some.

The solution we’ve come up with is to make our own jars of minced garlic, which requires extensive effort only once every six months or so.

We start with a big bag of fresh garlic – typically 5-8 pounts (2.5 to 3.5 kilograms), and then park ourselves in front of the TV with a movie while we remove all the “paper” from the garlic and separate all the cloves from each other. For our most recent “garlic night”, we rented a download of “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” from iTunes, based on a comment that due to all my gadgets I was becoming more like Steve Zissou every day. We collectively agreed that the movie was a dud. But we were still peeling garlic, now removing the skin from the cloves, so we watched the latest episode of Fringe, also courtesy of iTunes.

After peeling the garlic we trimmed out the hard ends of the cloves
After peeling the garlic we trimmed out the hard ends of the cloves

After we had naked cloves, the next step was to remove the hard little nubs at the end of the cloves as well as any noticeable blemishes.

Once that was complete it was time to mince the garlic. Doing it all by hand would take forever, so we use mechanical processes to mince our garlic. We have used food processors in the past, but find that they puree the garlic too much, plus with the amount we typically make during our “garlic nights” we have to keep emptying the machine too often. The solution we have settled on is the grinder option of our KitchenAid – the same thing you would use to grind meat, for example.

Our tools - a KitchenAid with grinder attachment, salt, canola oil, and garlic
Our tools - a KitchenAid with grinder attachment, salt, canola oil, and garlic

It’s still time consuming, since you can only feed a few cloves of garlic at a time into the opening of the grinder accessory, but it produces a constant flow of minced garlic.

The KitchenAid grinding garlic
The KitchenAid grinding garlic

Once all the garlic has been ground, we liberally mix it with a neutral tasting oil, such as canola oil, and sea salt. The oil and salt act as preservatives to prevent a deterioration of flavor due to oxidation. You can use olive oil as well, but that tends to impart a strong flavor to the garlic, and could affect the flavor of foods you cook with the garlic unless those foods already include the use of olives or olive oil.

The garlic/oil/salt blend is then used to fill jars that we have collected. I will oil the jar a little bit first, then add garlic up to the last half-inch, and then pour more oil on top to create a better seal against air.

Note that over time the jarred garlic will turn brown, but that does not impact its flavor negatively at all.

The end result - jars of minced garlic
The end result - jars of minced garlic

The amount of garlic pictured above will last us about 6-9 months of regular cooking.

One additional tip – take a heaping teaspoon of minced garlic and blend it with a cup of mayonnaise to create a quick and dirty garlic aioli.

4 replies on “For the Love of Garlic”

Jake, I just came across your website. I’m not sure if you answer questions for the home cook? I recently bought the “sous vide supreme” for home use. I’m quickly realizing that there aren’t many books/recipes on sous vide cooking for the home cook. Would you be available for questions on sous vide cooking? Thanks!

Laura, I’m envious! I would be happy to try and answer questions for you, but sous vide for the home is still somewhat experimental, so I encourage you to experiment as well. You may want to also pick up a copy of Harold McGee’s “On Food and Cooking, 2nd Edition”, as understanding which temperatures certain things happen at is key to low-temperature cooking as is done with sous vide.

If you want to be more adventurous, definitely check out Thomas Keller’s “Cooking Under Pressure”, which offers complete sous vide recipes.


Please be aware that garlic and olive oil in an air free environment can harbor botulism.

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