We’re always on the lookout for tips, tricks and ideas that can make life easier for us as we travel along the road to self-sufficiency, and we encourage everyone to do the same.  Whether it’s an easy way to start a fire, control pests, keep things clean or find ways to save time preparing food, every practical idea can produce benefits now as well as during a crisis, and no tip or trick is too small or insignificant.

To illustrate this point, let’s take a look at garlic.  Garlic is an essential food to have on hand whenever possible, whether you store whole bulbs or can cloves for long-term preservation.  Their nutritional value is well-documented, and garlic is also a very potent medicine that is a key ingredient in all kinds of natural remedies.

However, garlic can also be a pain to peel and prepare, and it can seem as though a lot of it goes to waste along the way.  Here are a few tips that can eliminate a lot of the hassle associated with preparing garlic, and using them can help you to conserve supplies and reduce prep-time in your survival kitchen.


If you are lucky enough to have power as well as a working microwave, then this method is by far one of the easiest.  Place an entire bulb of garlic into the microwave and cook it for 15-20 seconds.  When finished, take it out and start peeling.  You’ll be amazed at how easily everything will slide right off, leaving you with bare and clean whole cloves.  The only downside is that microwaving will partially-cook and soften the cloves, so use this method for recipes that involve cooking with garlic instead of serving it fresh.


While some people are familiar with this time-honored method, it’s surprising that more people are not.  First, separate the cloves from the bulb because can only work with one or two at a time.  Place them on the cutting board or counter and gently press the side of a sturdy and wide knife against the cloves.  The skin will crack without damaging the clove if you apply just the right amount of pressure, and it can then usually be removed in one fell swoop.


Take a bulb of garlic and put it inside a mason or sturdy plastic jar.  Attach the lid and shake vigorously for about 30 seconds or so.  The skin will start to crack and loosen as the bulb smashes against the sides of the container, and the mostly-peeled cloves will break off.  You can easily peel away the remaining skin and you’re good to go.

Warm Water

Place a bulb into a large bowl or pan full of very warm water.  Start breaking off the individual cloves and let them soak for about 5-7 minutes.  This will break down the bonds that hold the skin to the garlic, making them easy to peel.  If the skins don’t come off with ease after 7 minutes, let the cloves soak a little while longer.  While this isn’t the fastest method, it’s one you can use if you want to work on other things while you wait.

Finally, when it comes time to chop or slice the cloves, consider coating your knife with a little bit of olive oil.  This will help to speed up the process and minimize the amount of sticking that occurs as the juices are extracted.

Try these tricks for yourself, and feel free to share any other tips that can help us all to save time and hassles while cooking in our survival kitchens.