Is my garlic press evil?

I was reading about cooking the other day and the author went on a tirade against garlic presses, and how anything that comes out of a garlic press is no longer garlic. I don't understand. I have always used garlic presses and the 'garlic' that emerges from it, in all its garlicy goodness. So do many of the good cooks I know. Is there a fundamental shortcoming to the garlic press, and if so, why? I don't really understand the physical/metaphysical/spiritual difference between smooshing through a garlic press and finely chopping/squishing with a knife.

  • Posted by: LucyS
  • July 26, 2011
  • 2884 views
  • 18 Comments

18 Comments

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Greenstuff
Greenstuff July 26, 2011

You must take a look at this thread: http://www.food52.com/foodpickle...

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Greenstuff
Greenstuff July 26, 2011

Okay, now that you've looked at that big thread, I'll share with you that I chop by hand, slice, cut in half, or leave garlic cloves whole when I want a milder flavor. Occasionally I use a garlic press when I want a harsher, more pungent taste.

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Chef Krull
Chef Krull July 26, 2011

A garlic press is a good tool if you like it. I don't have one, because I don't mind using my knife, and I don't like unnecessary equipment taking up space. If you like it, more power to ya!

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LucyS
LucyS July 26, 2011

Your timing was beautiful, Greenstuff. You caught me reading the thread. In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that I have a very small kitchen and am a poor law student who cannot afford fancy tools like mortars and pestles, so that's less of an option. Donations are accepted, though.

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SKK
SKK July 26, 2011

Here is a great video of Amanda and Merrill handling garlic with no fancy tools.
http://www.food52.com/blog...

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Greenstuff
Greenstuff July 26, 2011

To me, whether you use a garlic press or not is less important than whether you are smashing or slicing. Here's one nice summary from a blogger who tested it out:
http://www.skilletdoux.com/2006/07/deconstructing_.html

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susan g
susan g July 26, 2011

I read that old anti-press thread, and rejected its opinion. I love my garlic press! It's a good one, after trying others, and worth having. I also slice and dice, and smash with the side of my Henkel's chefs knife... but there are times when the pressed garlic is called for. Also comes in handy for ginger.

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susan g
susan g July 26, 2011

I just read the thread about grating garlic referred to below. How is that different from using a press? except to put fingers at risk of serious injury?

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sexyLAMBCHOPx
sexyLAMBCHOPx July 27, 2011

In my home cooking opinion, no! When a recipe calls for finely chopped garlic, I reach for my garlic press. Garlic press or knife to me is the same. I rather have the garlic uniform to cut then minced sloppy when using fresh garlic cloves. The tirades you describe are professional, knife technique trained. Don''t be ashamed to use it and do whatever you like.

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aargersi
aargersi July 27, 2011

I didn't have a garlic press for years because, well I just didn't. But Zieker got sick of chopping garlic over here so she got me one. And now I love it!

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ChefJune
ChefJune July 27, 2011

Garlic presses aren't "evil," I just think they're unnecessary. I cut the cloves in half (because I don't want the sprout in my food), smash them with the side of my chefs knife and chop to desired consistency. Sometimes I add a bit of salt and "puree" with the side of my knife. When I have a lot of garlic to chop, I use the food processor.

I've heard folks say the garlic press makes the garlic bitter. I'm not convinced of that. I think it's that most folks leave the sprout in, and THAT's what makes it bitter.

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latoscana
latoscana July 27, 2011

I agree with ChefJune - if you remove the sprout, it won't be bitter. I have the Zyliss press and I love it. It pushes the garlic through with minimal effort and is easy to clean. Also a good hand feel.

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Mandragoras
Mandragoras July 31, 2011

Pressing Garlic ,,,is the worsest way to handle this wonderfully fruit ,,,it is a babarian act ,,,when you Press this food ,,,a chemical reaction follows , sharpness or bitterness ...mixed with a garlicky taste ,,this is what you get ..

crate Garlic ,,,on a wasabi crater (shark skin ) or terracotta crater or take a brick ,,,but never use ,,,this raping tool ,,it is ineficent btw. , one crated clove fits ,,,instead of 3-4 crushed ,,,and the taste is ,,,different !

for those ,,,who are afraid of food ,,,by garlicky hands ,,,wash your hands with water and stainless steel ,,,and the smell is gone !

treat your food with respect ,,,and you receive the benefit of good taste

just my 2 cents

greets from Greece

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amysarah
amysarah July 31, 2011

The only way your garlic press could be evil is if you use it to hit someone over the head.That's got to hurt.

I don't get the metaphysical angst about using one either. Personally, I chop, slice, smash and smush garlic by hand - I just like doing it that way. I say use whatever method you're most comfortable with. Whatever you're making (besides maybe chocolate cake) will be all the better for the garlic, no matter how it got there.

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creamtea
creamtea August 3, 2011

Probably a competitive professional chef thing. Tirades create buzz. Possibly they can also identify the terroir of each head of garlic by taste. I think it's nonsense. Personally I use my knife some of the time and my garlic press when I'm in a hurry. I always remove the sprout if it's green. If there is no sprout and the clove is juicy, it will be fine. If I am using raw garlic (as in guacamole) it helps to mash it with salt to take away the harshness, so then I'm more likely to use my knife.

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MBobinski
MBobinski August 3, 2011

One advantage to the press is the garlic is more of a pureed consistency than I can get with my knife.

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MTMitchell
MTMitchell August 3, 2011

I have a garlic tool that has a press "compartment" and a "sliced" compartment. I don't pull it out if I'm only doing a couple of cloves, but my husband and I are BIG garlic eaters/fans so oftentimes we're doing a lot of garlic at once, and I just find it easier to use the press or slice. I can certainly do it with a knife, but sometimes I don't feel like doing 12 cloves of garlic by hand. I'm pretty lazy, though, so....Oh, I also like the press for garlic bread, but again, we like REALLY garlicky garlic bread, so I like that the press releases all of the cloves' pungency.

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MarcusV
MarcusV December 18, 2011

No, it's just a fiddly little hard-to-clean swingy lever tool that is more trouble than it is worth. Put your garlic cloves in a quart mason jar and shake the heck out of it. Skins will come right off.

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