If the garlic clove will be chopped, place it on a cutting board under the flat side of a broad knife and give the knife a sharp whack with your free hand, breaking open the clove. You will be able to remove the peel easily, probably in one piece. If the cloves are going to be used whole, drop them in boiling water for a minute or two and they will peel easily.

Another option that came by way of a reader, is to drop unpeeled garlic cloves into a glass of cold water and let them sit for 1/2 hour or more. Our reader starts cooking by dropping a half to a whole head of garlic (separated into cloves) into the water. By the time she needs them, they “pop out of their skins almost as easily as blanched almonds.” Slicing the top off the cloves works even more quickly. She refrigerates unused garlic in the water for use the next day. Clearly she consumes substantial amounts of garlic.

Of course, there are also various gadgets on the market for peeling garlic. One we can vouch for is OXO’s garlic peeler, which comes with its own nifty case!