Chopping garlic can add a considerable amount of time to a recipe! It's difficult to get the garlic cloves cut into small enough pieces that have a consistent size, and then you're dealing with garlic smell on your hands and cutting board. Instead, save time and effort in your cooking by using a garlic press to chop your garlic! Garlic presses are available at many stores and are much easier to use than their appearance suggests. Keep reading to learn how to use a garlic press!
What Is A Garlic Press?
A garlic press is an odd-looking kitchen tool that looks somewhat like a cross between a nutcracker and a grater. It consists of two handles. One of the handles is designed with a pressing grid covered in blunt pins, while the other has a cup riddled with small holes. The simple concept is that a garlic clove that is placed in the cup will be pressed through the holes when the handles are closed and pushed together, thereby "mincing" the garlic.
While a variety of garlic presses are available for purchase, a good garlic press can be acquired very cheaply. Some brands offer designs with ergonomic handles. Some don't require the garlic cloves to be peeled prior to use. Some are made entirely of iron or steel if you want to avoid plastic or want a kitchen tool that can withstand hot dishwasher temperatures. Take a look at your local kitchenware store and see what's available!
How To Use A Garlic Press
Using a garlic press to crush garlic cloves is a straightforward process.
- Prepping Garlic - Separate each garlic clove that you need to press from the rest of the garlic bulb. Peel garlic using either a specialized garlic peeler or a knife and your hands. Depending on your garlic press, you may not even need to peel the garlic skin before pressing!
- Place Garlic Into Press - Place your garlic cloves directly into the cup of the garlic press. Some home cooks prefer adding a small drop of olive oil to the cup before adding the garlic cloves.
- Crush Garlic - With a bowl placed under the small holes of your garlic press, press the two handles together so the garlic clove is forced through the small holes in the cup. You'll need to press firmly! Use a butter knife or spoon to scrape off crushed garlic pieces clinging to the press's outside.
- Empty Press - If you need to press additional garlic cloves, use a butter knife or spoon to remove the remaining garlic from the inside of the cup before adding a second garlic clove.
- Cleaning Garlic Press - A quality garlic press made from stainless steel is dishwasher-safe and easily cleaned. Garlic presses can also be cleaned by hand in hot, soapy water. Use a cleaning brush or toothpick to be sure that all of the minced garlic residue is removed from the holes of the cup. A garlic press with larger holes can be more easily cleaned with a sponge or dishcloth.
Pros And Cons Of Using A Garlic Press
There are multiple methods of mincing and crushing garlic cloves, and using a garlic press is only one of them. Let's take a look into why you might choose to use a garlic press and in what situations using a garlic press may not be the ideal choice.
It's simple and quick
Using a garlic press is as simple as peeling garlic and squeezing handles. And with some of the best garlic presses, peeling garlic is an optional step! Using a chef's knife to mince garlic into tiny pieces is a time-intensive task, particularly if you must mince multiple cloves. A decent amount of time can be saved by using garlic presses.
It's safe for kids
If you want to get children involved with the dinnertime prep, using a garlic press to create minced garlic gives them a new task they can take on. There are no knives involved, and garlic presses consistently turn fresh garlic into small pieces with minimal effort.
It's more flavorful than jarred garlic
When given the option between using a garlic press or buying pre-minced garlic in a jar, absolutely use a garlic press. Fresh garlic has an entirely different flavor than pre-minced garlic, and when using a garlic press is so simple, there's no reason not to!
It doesn't mince the garlic
Technically, a garlic press produces crushed garlic, not minced garlic. It behaves somewhat like finely grated garlic. This does create a slightly different result in terms of flavor and texture when compared to chopping garlic with a knife. Pressed garlic will have a less intense flavor than true minced garlic.
There is food waste
When using a garlic press or garlic crusher, some remnants of the garlic clove will be left behind in the cup. Compared to how the whole clove is used in mincing garlic with a chef's knife, it's a considerable amount of food waste. Typically, two garlic cloves are needed to produce one clove's worth of standard minced garlic.
It's another tool to store
If your kitchen is short on drawer space, a garlic crusher may not be worth the space! A knife and cutting board can be used for multiple purposes, whereas a garlic press (while a good tool!) has a more narrow range of applications.