Garlic Press
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A Garlic Press is a kitchen implement that is designed for the singular purpose of Puréeing Garlic. It is what is called a “unitasking” tool, because as opposed to multi-tasking tools which can do many things, a Garlic Press is really only good for the single task of breaking down Garlic.

Chefs are spit on using Garlic Presses. Most are taught how to Purée Garlic with their Chef’s Knifes at Culinary School and prefer that method, claiming that it produces a superior flavor. Others understand how easy it is to just load and squeeze to create Puréed Garlic. Some chefs even claim to prefer the flavor of pressed Garlic. In both methods, cell walls are broken down and Volatile Oils released, so both can work.

For us at Smart Kitchen, the real issue between the different methods is threefold: the quality of the Garlic Press, the volume of Garlic to be processed and the ultimate purpose of the Garlic. Many Garlic Presses can be poorly made or made from the wrong materials (See Production). Our chefs are a little cocky and claim that they would not resort to Garlic Press for any project involving less than 20 Garlic Cloves. Finally, making some products, a Garlic Paste for example, is actually a bit easier, faster and more efficient with a Chef’s Knife than a Garlic Press.

The traditional Garlic Press has basically four parts: the extruder basket, the press, a hinge and handles, which are long enough to provide leverage.

*If you want to get argumentative they can be used for more than just Garlic and can Purée any small, non-fibrous vegetable (Peas, Beans, Mushrooms, Legumes, Potatoes, etc.).

Availability

Garlic Presses are sold at most culinary stores and at many grocery stores in the cookware aisle.

Production

Many different materials are used to make Garlic Presses. Some are made from Aluminum, which is reactive and can alter flavors and colors. Others are made from cheap Stainless Steel which can corrode and be difficult to clean.

Purchasing

We would advise against buying a cheap or flimsy Garlic Press. Make sure it feels solid in your hand and appears that it will provide years of consistent service. It should open and close smoothly and easily on its hinge.

The choice of materials should also be noted. Many Garlic Presses are made from Aluminum (which is reactive but can also alter flavors and colors). Others are made from flimsy Stainless Steel (which can corrode and be difficult to clean).

Garlic Presses are sold in many locations ranging from grocery stores to kitchen supply stores, to online outlets. The stainless steel Orblue Garlic Press is available from Amazon. The link goes off site to Amazon. 

Storage

Store your Garlic Press in a clean dry place like a kitchen drawer. It should be cleaned and dried after use but before putting it away.

Culinary Uses

The typical Garlic Press is used by holding it over a waiting container (to catch the product), loading the extruder basked with a Garlic Clove and then pushing the press into the clove in the basket. The Garlic is forced through the holes in the basket and comes out Puréed, before falling into the waiting container such as a Mixing Bowl or a Ramekin.

Some cooks like to leave the papery garlic skin on their Garlic Cloves when they press them. Chefs don’t because they know how messy it can get and how tedious it is to try and pick out micro-bits of papery skin from their Puréed Garlic. In our opinion, a little bit of extra work on the front end (literally) saves you a lot of work on the back end.

Even when you peel your Garlic before pressing it, it isn’t unusual for some of it to hang up on the sides or holes of the Garlic Press. Your fingers, or the blade of a sharp knife (used carefully), can retrieve those bits.

Substitutes

A Chef’s Knife can be used to Purée Garlic.