To mince garlic, start by taking a full head and breaking it into individual cloves. To release the skin from the cloves, place the side of your knife on top of the garlic clove and apply firm, downward pressure using the heal of your guide hand. The clove itself will become slightly crushed and the skin will separate in some places. Remove the skin completely by peeling with your fingers.
From here you can use as is, slice thin or mince as shown below.
Quick Tip: The finer minced the garlic, the more potent it will become. This is partially because more surface area leads to better flavor extraction, but there is also a chemical reaction that occurs.
When the cells of the garlic clove are damaged (as in crushing, slicing, mincing, etc), they release phytochemicals that are responsible for the sharp smell and flavor of garlic. The vaculose enzyme stored in the garlic’s cell causes the breakdown of several sulfur-containing compounds stored in the cell’s fluid. This was originally an evolutionary defense mechanism which humans often overcome with cooking, which drastically reduces garlic’s bite and increases its sweetness.
Some of the most common ways to cook garlic to lessen its bite are roasting, blanching, poaching, sautéing and simmering in soups, sauces and stews.
General Rule of Thumb: The more intact a garlic clove is and the longer it is cooked, the sweeter and less pungent it becomes.