What a Microwave is Good For

This is an embarrassing story. I was standing in line at the store the other day, about to check out a small pile of groceries that included a little plastic container of pre-peeled garlic. Yes, I know that these cloves of garlic might have been old, and less flavorful than fresh, and yes, I know that giving fresh cloves a quick bop with the side of a knife causes the skin to slip right off. I'm not proud of the fact that I occasionally buy pre-peeled garlic, but I get a (slightly pathetic) thrill when I can just toss a huge handful into a batch of hummus, or make chicken with 40 (or 50!) cloves of garlic anytime I want.

This time, I finally got called out. "Do you use a lot of garlic?" asked the girl in line behind me, looking skeptically at my stash. "Because you know, you can just put the cloves in the microwave for 5 seconds, and then the skins slip right off." I thanked her for the advice and scuttled my lazy, non-garlic-peeling self off home.

But okay, I thought I'd try it. And it turns out that it's fairly effective, and makes short work of a handful of cloves. Although, not as short work as buying pre-peeled garlic, and it's not much better or easier than just bashing it with the side of a knife. Still, it's a good trick to try when you're making something that calls for a large quantity of garlic.

The kitchen task that I really love to use the microwave for is to ready citrus fruits for juicing. Stick a couple limes in there and heat them for 10 to 15 seconds--you'll find that the fruit softens just enough to make juicing incredibly easy, and each fruit will yield more juice than it would have.

Any strange little kitchen tips to share? Go for it.


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