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Garlic experiment: first results
Bar Harbor
alexx_kay
Not too long ago, my friend Libby linked to this video:


I'd been idly meaning to make a batch of chili for a while now, and this finally spurred me to do so, as it could also be an opportunity for SCIENCE!

My results were not as impressive as those in the video, though the general principle does seem sound. Shaking for ten seconds didn't do much but create a shower of loose garlic-paper. Another ten seconds showed a few naked cloves. In all, I shook them for over a minute, in small bursts. About 50% of the cloves were totally denuded, and about 25% were partially naked. the remaining quarter, sadly, retained complete covering. Also, despite my best efforts at keeping a seal between the two bowls, tiny fragments of garlic-paper went flying over much of the kitchen. Total energy+time expenditure, including cleanup, was practically the same as doing it the slow-and-steady way. Rather more entertaining, though!

Hypothesis 1: Fresher garlic might perform better. Try getting fresher garlic to test.

Hypothesis 2: A stronger person shaking might perform better. Try getting herooftheage to try this technique to test :-)
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Did you whack the bulb hard beforehand?

Yes, though perhaps harder would have helped. The cloves were separate before I started shaking.

If Tom isn't around, do you have something in the house you could use to shake it? Like maybe the dryer?

Dryer would take considerably longer than even doing it the standard way. Tempting to try anyways, for SCIENCE! But I suspect that some housemates might complain if their clothes ended up smelling garlicky.

Wasn't particularly serious about the dryer, but maybe some other hack would solve the question.

The trick isn't the initial whack. The trick is vigorous impact during the shaking. That's best done by having a good deal of height in the combined bowls - so the cloves get up some decent momentum before the sudden stop.

I tend to peel my garlic by using a retail version of the same thing: I tap the garlic gently with the flat of my knife. Just enough to split the paper jacket. The clove comes out easily from there.

I've done the two-bowl thing. It works. I'm no brute. :-)

Aha, so using something with a longer height would work, like, say, a cylindrical cookie tin or poster tube. Maybe.

Something like a poster tube would be ideal - of course, I'd be afraid that the impact would pop the ends off the tube. As long as the impact is sharp and inelastic.

Now I'm sort of thinking about getting some stuff at Home Depot and making a toy. Because the one thing that video didn't show well, is how darned NOISY this is to do in a metal container.

Larger cloves work better than small sliver ones, too. A big, juicy, fresh head with huge cloves denudes nicely in about half a minute of horrific racket. Also a larger pair of bowls works better than a smaller set of prep bowls. (You can tell I've experimented too). K.

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