You can grow your own food. And we can help!

How to chop garlic--no gadgets other than a knife

Nov 21, 2010

I just posted a full picture tutorial on my blog about chopping garlic. It's so easy and fast, if only you know how! I will soon be following up with how to chop an onion and how to chop herbs.

Happy cooking, and happy thanksgiving! 


Don't we all have too many kitchen gadgets that are rarely if ever used? I do sometimes use a good garlic press if I'm doing certain dishes, but mostly a good sharp knife and cutting board for all slicing, dicing, and cubing. I use a food slicer or food processor when prepping 5-10 lbs of cabbage for sauerkraut. Stay natural, David
Yes, for me, it takes far too much time to track down some special gadget. Not to mention the expense!
Using, cleaning & sharpen good knives are just about a lost art. I was shocked to find out how many adults knew so little about knife care. When I was teaching cub scouts & boy scouts about knive safety. Thier are some good books on the subject & more gardening & cooking blogs are showing people the safe, best way to use knives. When I was a child on the farm, knife care, like so many other thing was taught by your parents. I sharpen hoes,axes, sling blades, knives long before I had facal hair. Laugh & have fun, Joel
During my 20+ year break from teaching, I worked as a marketing rep, among other sales and marketing professional jobs. My group specialized in high quality sporting goods and hardware. I love good knives and still have more than any person could ever use. When hunting, fishing or just tenting in the field or forest, I always carried 3-4 knives, and a diamond sharpener on my person plus an axe and machete for the camp. Enough of my passions. Sadly, as Joel stated, sharpening knives and tools is becoming a lost skill, and a dull knife or tool is a dangerous and worthless thing. I learned as a child, when knife steel was not as hard as today's superb blades. They take a little longer to hone to a razor edge, but stay sharp longer. The key is to maintain an angle for the length of the blade edge. Not an easy task without much practice. There are sharpening system available that will enable you to maintain whatever angle you choose for the job at hand. has a wonderful tutorial available at no charge on line. I must admit that today a ChefsChoice model 130 electric is my sharpener of choice, although I occasionally enjoy working with a good stone or diamond hone. You don't have to pay hundreds of dollars for a decent blade. Find one that is comfortable to your hand and that has good balance. Keep it sharp, I mean razor sharp, and you will be happy. Stay natural, David
Recently KGI member Faan, in South Africa, commented that many people new to house-holding do not know how to deal with vegetables fresh from the garden. Your down-to-earth & clear presentation of the basics - and your presentation of the basics as valued skills, rather than chores, will be a fine contribution going foward. See Faan's description of the trends he notes - for more inspiration for your tutorial series: When I lived in Taos, New Mexico, I wanted to be a student at UNM, Taos so I could use their great computer labs. The advice I followed from the business department head was, "Why don't you take a cooking class? You'll have a lot of fun & get to eat your lab fee." I met lots of interesting people. We cooked in teams of ~6, under the direction of a working Chef. The big difference for me, as an experienced cook, was learning pro knife skills. I enjoy cooking all the more because of those classes. You are right on, Amy! Joel, you are so right about knife care & it was part of the training - honing the edges a few times during an evening of cooking was par for the course.
I've gone to many. Then I went to culinary school. Individual classes are definitely more fun, and yes, you get to eat a lot from your classes! I went to culinary school thinking it would teach me more about vegetables than I already knew, so that I could teach others how to cook. Sadly, I had much more knowledge than the majority of the instructors and ended up correcting them a large percentage of the time. They certainly knew far more about meat than I. I guess that is the problem that I see that is societal. Not many people know how to treat a vegetable appropriately, and we end up with bland or bitter tasting vegetables, creating the notion that vegetables taste gross. Well, hopefully I can show a few people that this is not always the case!
-- for children & for adults. Amy, if you get into another cooking class any time, you can do with vegetables as a little Spanish woman did when we made tamales. She set up at a corner station & called out - "OK, everybody over here who wants to make tamales my way!" ... looking right at the Chef! Sure enough, she had a superior method of making the tamale-dough-wrapping - in my opinion. Instead of the usual Masa flour, she used a lot of coarsely-chopped hominy with just enough Masa for a binder - very nice! She also said - looking right at me - "...and we have to use lard for the flavor! No! olive oil!" I didn't dispute her methods. :-) In my own kitchen I use olive oil & add some pressed garlic ...
Actually, lard is turning out to not be bad for you. Of course, that means moderation. Lard is a very high source of natural vitamin D (you know, that vitamin all the docs are telling us we need to take over the counter). It is lower in saturated fat and cholesterol than butter. Crazy!
Butter is good for you, also. Saltless is best, homemade as my mother made it on the farm, in moderation of course.
In our family we experienced some of these diet information transitions first hand. My father was a world-class athlete, ran 32 marathons & set records at the Senior Olympics in track & field events & more. He was an early adopter of the Pritikin Diet, with only mono-unsaturated fats & served as a role-model for many, in diet as well as in his life leadership. In his 70s he was part of a health-study at the University of Southern California on senior athletes & was found to have the heart & lung health of a 20-year-old athlete. In his 80s he suffered TIAs, or Transitory Ischemic Attacks - tiny strokes - which result from the capillaries being too permeable, with not enough good cholesterol. Seeing this, we all migrated to a more Mediterannean diet & included some selected animal fats as well. I wish I could still sit talking with him - watching the hummingbirds dueling over a flowering tree overlooking the Pacific ocean & holding his big, warm calloused hand. Midsummer I posted in KGI Blogs about a study on natural Vitamin D that recommends people get ten-minutes per day of sunshine, 2-3 times per week, with sunscreen on face only. Seems quite doable for gardeners & their children - as you say, in moderation. :-)

Add comment

Log in or register to post comments



Join our e-list to stay in touch




Praise for KGI:

"A group that can get
things done"

-Mother Nature Network

"One of the web's best sources of gardening info"
-Washington Post 

"The meeting place of the world's gardeners"
-WorldWatch Institute

more here



About us:

KGI is a nonprofit community of over 30,000 people who are growing some of our own food and helping others to do the same.  

Join our mailing list:


Connect with us:

Contact us:

Kitchen Gardeners International
3 Powderhorn Drive,
Scarborough, ME, 04074, USA
(207) 956-0606