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I've written before about my mother's predilection for a less-is-more kitchen. She, of the staunch belief that all you need is a sharp knife and cooking chopsticks to succeed, softened her stance just a bit on a recent visit when we started every morning with green smoothies, swiftly zipped up in my counter space–clogging Vitamix.
"So smooth," she'd remark, recalling the days of my last hand-me-down blender that liked to spew still-chunky liquid from the bottom of the canister if it were overloaded in any capacity. For the rest of her stay, my mom would continue enjoying these creamy, dreamy smoothies under my care—and then one day, she unexpectedly taught me something new.
While I was at work during the day, she had gone out to help get the groceries, returning with some Korean pantry staples I was running low on: soy sauce, gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste), Asian pears (good for both snacking and marinating), and of course, scallions and garlic. Lots of garlic. Usually, I just pick up a few bulbs at a time, but she returned with a large clear canister filled to the brim with plump cloves that had already been peeled (you sometimes see these near the jars of minced garlic in the produce aisle).
"You should blend these up," she commented (more of a command than a suggestion, but that's neither here nor there), gesturing in the Vitamix's general direction while nudging the container towards me. I obeyed.
Turns out, a few quick pulses on the Vitamix easily processes a container of cloves in a matter of seconds. Seconds that translate to many minutes saved at the cutting board, chop, chop, chopping away. In Korean cooking, this little shortcut is a true timesaver: Our garlic-loving cuisine requires heaping spoonfuls of minced garlic in what seems to be every bubbling jjigae, salty-sweet-spicy meat marinade, and every pungent jar of kimchi. Heck, it comes in handy when I make our favorite version of carbonara, or even a simple Honey-Garlic Chicken recipe.
I just use a hard rubber spatula to scrape out all of the just-processed "chopped" garlic into a clean glass jar. (I've heard Vitamix's Under Blade Scraper is game-changing for this.)
After everything's in the jar, I keep it lidded in the fridge, taking it out as needed. A jam jar-ish size like this will last me a few weeks, and I've never experienced any garlic going bad using this method.
Just be sure to give your Vitamix or high-speed blender a thorough soak and wash afterwards. No one likes their morning smoothie imbued with garlic—not even my smoothie- and garlic-loving mother.