You’re going to get a lot of flake for using a press. It’s a religion to some people.
I use both depending what I’m making. For things I’m using for pan frying and tomato sauces where it has some cooking down to go I just smash, flatten and chop.
For sauces, salad dressing, salsa, and Tazikazi sauce. Where you have raw garlic. That’s when the press come out.
EDIT: Mark, You might be interested in a classic book “Home Food Systems” by Rodale Press. http://www.amazon.com/Home-Food-Systems-Processing-Preserving/dp/0878573208/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1423697558&sr=1-1&keywords=Home+Food+Systems
It’s filled with stuff that you’re basically doing. Reviews of “cool tools” and hints on things like raising chickens, bees, goats…and even a way use an above ground pool for aqua culture.
About 90 percent of the tools and reviews are for items that are still on the market. But the book is sorely in need of an update.
That looks like a cool book, Sam!
This item is what Alton Brown refers to as a “unitasker” - designed to do exactly one thing.
Why not just mince your garlic with a knife?
@kpkpkp: chopped garlic != crushed garlic.
Unitaskers in the kitchen are OK, as long as you have the room for it. I’ll multitask when I go backpacking and have to carry it all (and then stainless steel is pretty much a no-no anyway).
I’ve had the Joseph Joseph for a couple of years now. Love it. Also have a press and a heavy stainless steel roller (this one http://www.kookwinkel.nl/webshop/1019-royalvkbknoflookroller18cmrvsglans.asp - link in Dutch, but pic says it all), which is a nice second, but the rocker wins at an arm’s length, because you can just keep adding cloves, something you cannot do with a press or the roller.
As for results: the JJ rocker has fairly big holes, the press is a little finer, and the roller just produces a mash. All three squeeze out a lot of garlic juice too. A knife gives clean, relatively dry pieces of garlic. I use all 4 on a regular basis, but the rocker has the most ease of use IMO.
I guess I will have to attach a toothpick to it with a blob of epoxy, so it becomes a dual-purpose tool: a combination toothpick/garlic press.
Just use a Microplane. It is much better than this. And you don’t need to bother with the inner skins If you don’t want as they are pushed off when it grates/crushes it. You can do a bulb a hell of a lot faster and better than one of these no doubt.
Also Microplanes are made using a patented stamping technique so at least for a while there literally isn’t another similar product on the market.
No Microplane, just use a knife. This might be better than a normal press but presses are not great.
I picked one up after reading Master it: How to cook today by Rory O’Connell who is the head of an irish cooking school (I really recomend it but more importantly so do all the people who matter). It mentions the Microplane is the one modern cooking tool that has earned it’s way into kitchen staples for all kitchens amd how good it is for garlic as well as the other stuff
I’m going to try a microplane. Thanks Greg!
@kpkpkp Some people don’t have knife skills. Also some people like fiddly little gadgets.
In terms of presses vs doing the hard way, or microplaning it:
The basics being that the way you process your garlic directly effects its flavor both raw and cooked. With microplanes tasting actively bad, or far too harsh, and presses being kind of “meh” over all. Harsher and “fartier”, but without neccisarily having a specific flaw. The differences disappear with long cooking.
So don’t worry about your garlic mushing method if your cooking something for a while. But if your cooking fast and hot choose the way you process based on how hot or strong you want your garlic. Also avoid the microplane, and realize that the more finely masticated your garlic the quicker its going to burn and taste foul.
Still don’t see the point in a press though. I have literally every other method close to hand. And they’re all easier to clean.
I was under the impression that you needed to smash garlic to release the juices or you won’t get the full benefit (flavor.) Mark’s device will do this as will a conventional press. Slicing won’t do this. Am I wrong about that? I believe I learned this from the Galloping Gourmet when I was but a tike.
I swear by this OXO garlic press. It is so sturdy and has great leverage so you can crush 2 large cloves at once. Then it just flips around and dislodges the inner skins from the grating so all you have to do is rinse it under running water to clean it. I use it almost every day, unlike my old press that was a pain to use and lay abandoned in a drawer.
Actually, the benefit (apart from the flavor) is in the Alliinase, an anti-carcinogen. In order to fully realize the benefits though, you must let your garlic sit after crushing/chopping prior to heating:
Edited to add: I’m with the ‘just use a knife’ crowd. YMMV.
Microplanes are good. But they can bite your finger dealing with small squishy things like garlic. Great for nutmeg tho. Tho not as vicious as a Mandolin…which seems to require a blood sacrifice when you bring it in a home.
After having owned and broken numerous garlic presses I’ve given up on them. Now, for just a few cloves I hand-chop. If I need many cloves or if I need consistent tiny mincing, I peel them all and then chop them with the chopper attachment for my immersion blender. It’s far less fussy, easier to clean up, faster, hasn’t broken over the course of many years, and is useful for many tasks. I no longer feel any desire at all for a press. If I wanted one, the JJ looks pretty anyway.
Oh, for peeling mass quantities of garlic before putting it in the chopper, the old shake-it-between-two-stainless-bowls trick.
I was about to sing the praises of the microplane, but you beat me to it. Super-useful for a lot more than garlic, of course.
Mincing and smashing garlic gives you different flavours. The pungent ‘garlic’ flavour comes from the mixing of two chemicals. The chemicals are altered by heating.
If you roast/saute/cook garlic whole, the chemicals don’t mix so the garlic is sweet.
If you smash or whirl in a blender, the chemicals can mix and you get that strong garlic flavour.
Mincing give you somewhere between the two.
I like my old Zyliss garlic press - not the current ‘Quick ‘n’ Easy’ model - it’s the only one I’ve had that didn’t break in two after a few months. One advantage over the Rocker is that plier-style presses can usually press unpeeled garlic.
The majority of what is spouted as fact on cooking shows is totally made up bullshit.
I use one of those Chinese cooking cleavers for just about everything. Rather than peeling, crush the cloves with the flat of the knife, remove peel, chop chop and done. But if I had one of these I’d probably try it. Might be faster than the knife until it comes to the cleaning part.
I usually mince garlic with a knife but there are recipes in which more of a pulp is desired. Ottolenghi often calls for “crushed garlic” in his recipes which I take for meaning: use a press. I just got a Treudeau garlic press for my birthday (yep, a garlic press) and it’s the best one I’ve used so far. It really presses 99% of the garlic through its holes (unlike others). True, there is some residue to clean out but I use a tooth pick. It’s worth the little effort. That said, this rocking press looks great and now that I’ve seen it here the concept seems so obvious.
Silver-braze an electrical screw clamp onto it. Then you can exchange the toothpicks.
As of breaking hinges, we have an old garlic press, from the communist era, made from cast aluminium. Fairly thick walled. I think the hinge never failed, in decades of use. Will have to check if it is not repaired; but I certainly did not have to repair it in two decades or more.