Garlic Presses

Can your choice of garlic press affect the flavor of your dishes? You’d be surprised.

Why not just mince? Over the years, we’ve learned that for the average home cook, a garlic press is faster, easier, and more effective than trying to get a fine, even mince with a chef’s knife. More important, garlic’s flavor and aroma emerge only as its cell walls are ruptured and release an enzyme called alliinase, so a finely processed clove gives you a better distribution of garlic and fuller garlic flavor throughout the dish. Even our test cooks, trained to mince with a knife, generally grab a garlic press when cooking. And here’s the best part: With a good garlic press, you don’t even have to stop and peel the cloves.

Beyond how easy it is to squeeze, does your garlic press really matter in your cooking? Will the right garlic press make your food taste better? We were skeptical, but a quick test revealed a surprising answer. We chose seven representative presses and used them to make seven batches of our Pasta with Garlic and Olive Oil. It was remarkable to note the wide range of garlic flavor, from mild to robust, when the only difference was the press used to prepare the garlic. Larger chunks of garlic tended to drop to the bottom of the bowl, making most of the dish too bland. And when the pieces were uneven, tiny fragments overcooked to bitterness. Tasters overwhelmingly preferred the samples with the finest and most uniform garlic pieces, which produced a well-developed garlic flavor and consistent texture throughout the dish.

We determined that a garlic press’s most important attribute was the ability to produce a fine and uniform garlic consistency. We also wanted a press that was simple and comfortable to operate and did not require the hand strength of Hercules. It should be solidly built, with no contest between the press and the garlic about which is going to break first. It should be able to hold more than one clove and should crush the garlic completely through the sieve, leaving little behind in the hopper. It should handle unpeeled cloves with ease. Finally, it should be simple to clean, by hand or dishwasher, and not require a toothpick to get the last pieces of garlic out.

WINNER: Kuhn Rikon Easy-Squeeze Garlic Press

Price: $19.95

Where to buy:

Testers’ Comments: A longer handle and a shorter distance between the pivot point and the plunger help make pressing garlic less work. The curving plastic handles are very easy to squeeze together. One flaw: Garlic sometimes oozed out the sides. Nevertheless, we like the ergonomic features and friendly price.

Published in: on February 18, 2010 at 12:57 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. FWIW, I really like the Chef’n “Garlic Zoom.” It’s a little gadget that minces garlic for you, no knives required. I’m typically skeptical of that kind of gadget, but I find this one works really well. Almost (not quite) as easy as a garlic press, and the result is much more like mincing. I do still use my garlic press from time to time (I have a Zyliss), but most of the time I grab the Garlic Zoom.

  2. I bought one generic like the Oxo one and is self cleaning and feels solid nice balance in the hand and since I am male ease of squeeze makes no difference to me but mine is good in that area and I payed 12.95.

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