To use a garlic press, place the clove in the container and close the arms of the press together.
A garlic press is a nondescript kitchen utility that makes your work very easy. Garlic press, also known as garlic chopper, gives you fine and evenly chopped garlic pieces. Chopped garlic has a strong flavor and aroma that improves the taste and flavor of the dishes. Of course, you can always dice the cloves, but to release the intense flavor, you will need to chop them into extremely fine pieces, which can otherwise be tiring and time-consuming.
As opposed to this, a garlic press with its grid of small holes and a piston part with pins, crushes the garlic cloves effectively. Moreover, you do not have to take the effort of peeling the garlic. The peel just remains in the press, while the crushed garlic is extruded out. There are many types of garlic press available in the market, from the efficient stainless steel variants to the flimsy, easy-to-clean plastic garlic presses.
Tips for Choosing a Garlic Press
Garlic presses are either made of metal, like stainless steel and aluminum or plastic. Both metal as well as plastic variants have their own set of pros and cons. The final decision to choose the right garlic press depends on the frequency of use.
Stainless Steel Garlic Press
Stainless steel is possibly the best and the most durable garlic press available in the market. Following are some of the benefits.
They are sturdy and especially made to handle heavy use. Some large-sized stainless steel garlic presses can accommodate several cloves at once.
They also have specially contoured or rubbery grips for easy use.
Most of them have a nice sheen which does not 'peel' or get dull even after repeated use.
Unlike other metal garlic presses, stainless steel does not rust.
Most of them have 'self-cleaning heads' or attachments that can be removed and washed in water.
They tend to be expensive. Some of the best high-end stainless steel presses can cost as much as $30 or more.
When in the dishwasher, the detergent can leave mottled marks on the garlic press.
Aluminum Garlic Press
They may not look fancy and shiny but the aluminum garlic presses are equally efficient in crushing garlic.
They are heavy-duty and sturdy.
Most of the aluminum garlic presses have a self-cleaning design.
Most of the presses have a durable aluminum body along with an epoxy coating to protect against corrosion.
Some people noted a black residue when crushing garlic in aluminum garlic press. This is because when the nonstick coating of the garlic press peels off, the iron and copper in the aluminum base metal react with sulfur compounds in the garlic to create oxides and sulfides.
Aluminum tools placed in a dishwasher tend to get a powdery-looking residue.
Plastic Garlic Press
There are many inexpensive plastic garlic presses available in the market. While some are tough and durable, others tend to be flimsy and prone to breakage.
They are inexpensive as compared to the metal counterparts.
These presses are extremely flimsy.
They cannot handle heavy use and have a very short working life.
The capacity of the garlic press is an important consideration, especially if you need to use it frequently. For frequent and heavy users, a garlic press that can hold several cloves at once is preferable than smaller garlic presses. The garlic press should also be able to handle unpeeled cloves. Ideally, it should leave behind the peel and crush the garlic completely through the sieve.
Easy to Clean
Crushing garlic can be a messy job. You would obviously want a press that is easier to clean, by hand or in a dishwasher. There are many garlic presses that have an attached or separate cleaning device to remove the garlic bits that are stuck in the holes. The cleaning device is equipped with prongs that can be inserted in the holes to remove the leftover garlic.
The design of the garlic press should make it simple and easy to use. Most of the variants have a soft grip which makes pressing garlic easier and more comfortable. Instead of choosing huge, bulky handles and the clunky, complicated self-cleaning models, opt for a simpler design which is less expensive and easier to maintain.
Apart from this, garlic press can also be distinguished by the 'spring', 'hammer' and 'weighted' types. The spring garlic press has a metal piece in the center which looks like a spring, but actually functions as a cleaner by removing the spent garlic clove after it has been pressed. Hammer types are simple, and use an internal hammer to press the clove. The weighted type uses a wedge-shaped weight to crush the garlic.
Why Choosing the Right Garlic Press Matters
There are many people, especially professional chefs, who dislike the use of garlic press. For example, Chef Anthony Bourdain labels garlic presses as "abominations." His advice―"don't put it through a press. I don't know what that junk is that squeezes out of the end of those things, but it ain't garlic."
However, for home cooks who are not experts at cutting the garlic to the right size, the garlic press is a godsend tool. After all, it is important to get the right size of garlic pieces. Since the larger chunks of garlic tend to settle at the bottom of the utensil and the small, uneven fragments often burn and taste bitter, the garlic press helps you get the perfect chopped garlic for your dish.
If you have decided to go ahead and buy a garlic press, don't just buy a flashy, expensive model just because it looks good. A strong and heavy-duty garlic press works just as well to chop garlic.