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I ask NOT about the white outer layers that must be peeled and I do peel. But I lack the time to peel the red peel off cloves. Is it safe to eat?

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  • There are red (purple) garlic varieties and white ones. – Batman Nov 21 '16 at 2:35
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Garlic peel isn't dangerous to eat. Most people wouldn't want to eat it, since it's pretty papery and can sometimes be a bit tough and fibrous, but I guess if you don't mind, go for it.

There's not really any difference between the outer and inner layers of the peel. The color is just an attribute of certain varieties of garlic; some garlic has that red/purple peel, while other garlic just has white (or off-white/pale brown) peel the whole way through.

If it's only about spending effort to peel, see How do you peel garlic easily? - it's never going to be instant, but it shouldn't be terribly time-consuming either. If it seems like it's adding a significant amount to your cooking prep time, there's probably room for improvement.

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Sure, they are not poisonous or anything, although I suspect eating a large chunk of that "paper" would be unpleasant.

Peeling the skin off is quite easy -- lay the cloves on your cutting board, cover with the flat side of your chef's knife, and crush them a bit with your palm on the knife. The skins then come right off. To peel many at once, put them inside a hollow sphere made of two opposing metal mixing bowls and shake vigorously for a minute -- all the peels will have fallen off!

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Yup, you can eat it. There are dishes where the peel isn't removed and the garlic cloves are thrown in whole such as Sri Lankan pulliyanum.

I once peeled the garlic and onions for the pulliyanum while my Sri Lankan mother in law was on the phone - when she saw what I had done, she grabbed more garlic and onions, not peeled, and tossed those in instead of using the ones I'd peeled.

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