You can chop garlic, you can smash garlic, you can even put it through a garlic press, but using fresh garlic really is worth a couple extra minutes of prep time. The flavor of fresh garlic is superior to the stuff that comes pre-chopped in a jar.

Garlic comes in buds that break apart into cloves. Buy garlic that feels firm and hard, not soft. Garlic cloves should have very little give when you push on them with your finger.


Break off a clove, put it on a cutting board, and smack it with the flat side of your chef’s knife.

The peel should come off easily.


Mince the clove (chop it into really tiny pieces) or put it in a garlic press.

A garlic press is a handy tool that pushes the garlic through little holes with a squeeze of its handle, doing all the mincing work for you.

If you don’t want to take the time to remove the peel from the garlic and you have a heavy-duty garlic press, you can squeeze a clove of garlic without peeling it. You need a little more hand strength for this, but it’s not a bad way to relieve tension.