Many of our recipes in Cooking Light call for minced garlic. You'll see it particularly often in the Superfast and Dinner Tonight columns. Sometimes people turn to Pre-minced garlic as a shortcut, but I don't recommend it. In my experience, what you save in time (a few minutes at most), you lose in flavor.

Pre-minced garlic sold in the bottle is usually packed with an oil to preserve it. The result is an ingredient that not only lacks the flavor of fresh garlic, but doesn't really even look like minced garlic.

In the TK, we use a ton of minced garlic. Here's how we save time without turning to a flavorless shortcut: We often buy a small bottle of pre-peeled garlic cloves, then quickly mince the garlic ourselves. When it comes up in a recipe, it is already minced and ready to go. Here's another shortcut that can help you save time if you use a lot of minced garlic, too:

1. Spray the inside of a mini-chopper or blender with cooking spray.
2. Add your peeled garlic cloves and pulse until minced.
3. Return minced garlic to original bottle or small zip-top plastic bag.

Your garlic will be much fresher and tastier than the pre-minced variety.

Photo: chopping garlic, courtesy of zenobia_joy on Flickr.