I read in a couple of cookbooks that pressing is never recommended because the juice that results can be bitter. But honestly, my palate is not sophisticated enough to detect whatever they're talking about! I finally transitioned to exclusively chopping, though, when I got good enough at chopping that it would take me longer to wash my garlic press than it would to just chop. :)
At the end of the day, both methods yield the same result- except with a press you have a more difficult clean up. I prefer to crush the garlic with some salt using the flat of my chefs knife. Drag the flat of the knife a few times over the garlic and you have what you want and some good therapy too.
Chris is a trusted source on General Cooking
There's a mega-thread on garlic presses here, and you might want to search for it. But my personal experience is that crushing and cutting result in completely different products. I like garlic flavor but not harshness, let alone its aroma exuding from my pores the next day (yes, that's happened). So more and more, I cut rather than crush. Sometimes to the point that I just cut cloves in half and use a lot, like 10x, more of them than I would have when I crushed.
I keep my garlic in the freezer. Easy to peel, then I either slice finely or grate on a MicroPlane... As for the smell on your hands - get one of those nifty stainless steel gizmos. Never thought they would work, but they do!
I either chop or grate on my microplane depending on how dispersed I want the flavor to be. Definitely grated for marinades, salad dressing and dipping sauces, chopped for soups, stirfry, garlic bread, etc.
The microplane is way easier to clean than a garlic press would be (I used to use a japanese ginger grater, but it got dull and I ended up with fiber and juice most of the time). Do give chopping another chance though, using a large knife and an adequately large cutting board makes it a lot easier.
I chop, press and microplane...sometimes a recipe needs a little garlic "oomph" at the very end and that's where the microplane or garlic press comes in handy
Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.
I know it labels me an amateur, but I have this great garlic press--Kuhn rikon-- that I found out about from Cooks' Ilustrated. It works well and is easy to clean. Sometimes I just need to use it, perhaps out of laziness. Anyway, it's just another tool, not a religion, so I say whatever works is fine.
I have no problem chopping garlic nor do I with using a press. I chop when I'm already using a board for something else. I use a press when I don't want to get a clean board dirty just to chop up a clove of garlic. My microplane isn't any easier to clean than my garlic press.
I've taken to using a hand held flat grater with holes larger than a microplane. My husband likes to use the Mouli grater when he has several cloves of garlic. Both work well. Love the idea of freezing the garlic and will try that --- clean-up should be much easier with the frozen cloves.
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