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The Garlic Press: Food Ruining Tool or Handy Kitchen Gadget?

Mar 7, 2008
To press or not to press, that is the question! Garlic is undoubtedly high on the list of seasonings for many chefs and food lovers. It is found in foods worldwide, from main courses to side dishes. Honey garlic ribs, garlic mashed potatoes, garlic bread, and the list goes on. Have I whetted your appetite?

But what is the best method for you to prepare this pungent herb? This question has been a hot topic among food preparers for years. Some feel that the garlic press is a wonderful kitchen tool that everyone should own. Others are sure that it ruins the properties of garlic entirely. This isn't a clear cut issue, being a matter of taste (literally).

There are two common methods of adding fresh garlic to your cooking. First,you could peel and dice the cloves by hand, using a knife and cutting board. The other method would be to use a garlic press, and extrude the garlic directly into the dish you are preparing.
There's no denying that a good garlic press can save time and mess. Most of the presses don't even require you to remove the peel or touch the peeled garlic directly, keeping the smell of garlic off your hands. It is easy to use the pressed garlic in foods since the garlic comes out almost as a paste and stirs into, or is spread on, your creation easily.

A good garlic press will have lots of room in the hopper and be fairly easy to squeeze. Some of the cheaper models take a lot of strength to press, and this is difficult for anyone with small hands. A high quality garlic press will be easy to clean, will actually extrude all of a clove instead of just mashing it inside the hopper, and be sturdy enough to last. More than one cheap press has broken at the hinge after a few uses. One of these cheaper models will have you cursing the manufacturer in short order.

Many chefs prefer to use diced or chopped garlic instead. This is usually done by smashing the clove using the side of your knife and hitting the flat of the knife with your hand. You can then pull the loosened peel off of the clove. A quick dicing, and your garlic is ready for use. This traditional method is quite effective and easy to master.

You will have to make up your own mind on which method is best for you. If you don't mind a little extra work and mess, you can get by fine without a garlic press. If you want to keep the odor off your hands and need to process a lot of garlic fast, then a press may be just what you need.
About the Author
Tim Ebl loves to cook in his own kitchen, and tries out new kitchen tools as often as possible. For more articles on various kitchen gadgets go to Kitchen Gadgets
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