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the perils of hand blender chopping of garlic cloves

larry ziegler Nov 9, 2010 06:05 AM

are there any,+if so what

  1. d
    dfrostnh Nov 11, 2010 03:51 AM

    drat, I don't think my post from yesterday shows up - my computer has issues.

    My favorite kitchen gadget is an ulu knife and cutting board that I brought home from Alaska. I use it every morning to slice peppers for my scrambled eggs. The cutting board has a depression that fits the curve of the ulu knife. I can mince several cloves of garlic very easily and quickly. Only drawback is to check the back of the blade to make sure some sticky pieces of garlic aren't hiding. So yes, my finger may actually touch a piece of garlic although it would be easy enough to use a rubber spatula. The ulu knife has a very sharp point on each end so it can cut into something.
    It is also terrific for mincing fresh herbs. First I slice thru the bunch. Then start mincing with a rocking pivot motion.

    I have a Cuisinart for the big jobs. I don't feel the need to buy any thing else for small chopping/mincing jobs because I use the ulu.

    1 Reply
    1. re: dfrostnh
      bushwickgirl Nov 11, 2010 04:46 AM

      Ulu knife, had to google it, sort a a single bladed mezzaluna type affair with the handle attached to the top of the blade, rather than on either side of the blade? One hand use, rather than with two for the mezzaluna? I don't know why I'm asking, actually, since I googled Ulu and can see the slight difference between the two knives. Cool. I've never heard of this knife, never been to Alaska. Thanks for the info.

    2. mattstolz Nov 9, 2010 06:51 PM

      im just sitting here laughing picturing a hand slowly approaching the spinning blade of a stick blender... because i dont know what else this OP could be referring to. and can only imagine how bad an idea that is.

      1. m
        magiesmom Nov 9, 2010 05:32 PM

        I love this tool for garlic if I have more than a few cloves. no downside I have found.

        2 Replies
        1. re: magiesmom
          alkapal Nov 10, 2010 03:49 AM

          except you have to clean those tiny blades. maybe i'll see how the stick blender works with garlic. nah, too much trouble. i'll just chop, i think.

          1. re: alkapal
            magiesmom Nov 10, 2010 05:35 AM

            It cleans in a flash by turning it on in a bowl of water.

        2. alkapal Nov 9, 2010 01:18 PM

          looks like this thread will turn into a general garlic thread. ;-(.

          this is about chopping garlic with a hand blender!


          you don't respond, there goes your CH cred.

          12 Replies
          1. re: alkapal
            bushwickgirl Nov 9, 2010 02:30 PM

            You tell 'em!

            1. re: alkapal
              ipsedixit Nov 9, 2010 03:02 PM

              Whatever a "hand blender" is, I think the peril of using one to chop garlic cloves is that it won't work very well.

              1. re: ipsedixit
                Veggo Nov 9, 2010 03:28 PM

                I agree - wrong tool for the job, sort of like carving a turkey with a weed whacker. I don't understand all the objections to garlic presses. I feed in peeled cloves, press over a saucer, add another, press. After the last clove, I pop the remaining pulp out of the tool and do a quick ginzu thrash with two paring knives on the whole delicious pile, then I'm ready for sofrito or chimichurri or death-by-garlic Caesar salad. Very fast and no motorized machinery required.

                1. re: Veggo
                  ipsedixit Nov 9, 2010 05:10 PM

                  Knife skills are a dying art form and skill.

                  Maybe I'm a Luddite and my ways in the kitchen are antiquated, but you wouldn't have to twist my arm very hard or far for me to contend that if you cannot chop, or dice, or mince garlic by hand and knife, then you don't deserve to be cooking with garlic at all, much less actually eating it.

                  1. re: ipsedixit
                    rabaja Nov 9, 2010 07:29 PM

                    Whoa, easy girl.
                    It's not a can't, it's a don't want to.

                    1. re: ipsedixit
                      thew Nov 10, 2010 04:00 AM

                      what makes you say they are a dying art form/skill?

                      1. re: thew
                        ipsedixit Nov 10, 2010 09:05 AM

                        Just anecdotal observations.

                        Most chefs you see on TV can dice up an onion just fine, but anything else they almost always seem to reach for the food processor -- from shredding cabbage to julienning vegetables.

                        1. re: ipsedixit
                          sunshine842 Nov 10, 2010 10:00 AM

                          that's because they've got some flunky backstage to wash the fricking thing.

                          No way it takes longer to wash my beloved 9" chef's knife than it does to take apart, wash, and reassemble a food processor.

                          If I were chopping restaurant quantities, you bet I'd be looking to automate things. But since I'm not, I'll stick with my knife.

                          I should have given my Cuisinart to you.

                          1. re: sunshine842
                            ipsedixit Nov 10, 2010 10:10 AM

                            I should have given my Cuisinart to you.


                            Um, why?

                            1. re: ipsedixit
                              sunshine842 Nov 10, 2010 11:10 AM

                              because it weighed a ton, was unwieldy as all get-out, a total p.i.t.a. to clean, and I gave it to Goodwill when we moved...and haven't missed it not even a little bit.

                              None of my friends claimed it...so I sent it on down the line.

                              It was more a "I realize that there are people who wouldn't cook without one, but I wouldn't take one as a gift."

                    2. re: Veggo
                      ZenSojourner Nov 10, 2010 12:49 AM

                      "sort of like carving a turkey with a weed whacker"

                      I'd pay to see that!

                      1. re: Veggo
                        alkapal Nov 10, 2010 03:47 AM

                        somehow veggo, i can picture you having fun and actually carving a turkey with a weed whacker! LOL!

                  2. rabaja Nov 9, 2010 08:52 AM

                    I am really not fond of chopping garlic by hand. I prefer to slice it super thin and use it as is, or pound it in my mortar and pestle.
                    I will chop it if I have to, but I hate the stinky, sticky sensation on my fingers.
                    Don't really think there's a gizmo out there that does the job well, and I don't care for presses.
                    I do like the pounded garlic flavor, and I can pound it as much or as little as I like depending on what I'm using it for. Stores well in oil for a day or two as well.

                    11 Replies
                    1. re: rabaja
                      scubadoo97 Nov 9, 2010 10:19 AM

                      I do garlic like I do onions. Fine vertical cuts and a few horizontal and then do a fine dice. That or slice thin. If I want a paste I will do a dice and follow with the addition of salt and oil then use a blade to mash to a paste or if I have a lot of it to paste then I use a mortar and pestle

                      1. re: rabaja
                        bushwickgirl Nov 9, 2010 02:15 PM

                        rabaja, throw a little salt on the garlic while hand mincing like other posters have said; it minimizes sticky and the abrasive action of the salt helps break down the garlic a bit faster.

                        Larry, hand blender? No. Use something else, like a knife. I allow handi-choppers as well.

                        1. re: rabaja
                          sunshine842 Nov 9, 2010 11:27 PM

                          when you're done chopping/slicing/mincing/mashing/whatever...go and rinse your hands.

                          Now grab a stainless steel soup spoon out of the silverware drawer.

                          Go back to the sink and rub it over your hands and fingers under running water. (just like you'd rub your hands with a bar of soap or a nail brush) You HAVE to do this under running water.

                          No garlicky smell. Gone. (works on onions and leeks, too)

                          No idea why it works, never seen an explanation as to why - all I know is it works like magic. Every single time.

                          (yeah -- those $7 Magic Garlic Soap bars? They're just a chunk of stainless steel you don't need to pay for or make room for)

                          1. re: sunshine842
                            alkapal Nov 10, 2010 03:46 AM

                            i just rub my hands after washing them with soap and water on the stainless steel spout of my sink's water faucet no garlic stink!

                            1. re: alkapal
                              sunshine842 Nov 10, 2010 04:02 AM

                              that works, too...

                              1. re: sunshine842
                                rabaja Nov 10, 2010 08:47 AM

                                I do all that stuff. The salt, the washing with something stainless., I just don't care for the experience and I don't think the remedies are that effective to get the smell off your fingers. The salt helps for breaking down the garlic, I agree with that.
                                Too many years in the pastry department I think, making sure my hands and ingredients weren't sullied by the messy savory cooks. ;)
                                And I hate when I can smell garlic on my fingers when I'm sleeping, it wakes me up.

                                1. re: rabaja
                                  bushwickgirl Nov 10, 2010 04:24 PM

                                  "And I hate when I can smell garlic on my fingers when I'm sleeping, it wakes me up."

                                  Haha, I know that one, I was one of those messy savory cooks.;-)

                                  1. re: bushwickgirl
                                    CateJK Dec 11, 2010 06:28 AM

                                    No smelly hands......Disposable gloves work well. I know the stainless steel trick, but for some reason, there is still an underlay garlic smell.

                                    1. re: CateJK
                                      sunshine842 Dec 12, 2010 12:23 AM

                                      wonder if it's affected by individual body chemistry -- it removes all the smell on some folks, but some folks' bodies just 'latch on' to the oils.???

                          2. re: rabaja
                            ipsedixit Nov 10, 2010 09:06 AM

                            I will chop it if I have to, but I hate the stinky, sticky sensation on my fingers.

                            I remedy that just be licking my fingers ... repeatedly.

                            1. re: ipsedixit
                              mattstolz Nov 10, 2010 04:38 PM

                              im having alot of trouble seeing why this smell is an issue... I love the smell of garlic!! reminds me of the delicious food i just cooked.

                          3. p
                            petrelline Nov 9, 2010 08:42 AM

                            If chopping garlic is so much of a hassle that you're considering blending it instead, I suggest a garlic press.

                            Most of the pre-peeled jarred garlic comes from China, by the way.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: petrelline
                              ferret Nov 9, 2010 02:27 PM

                              Christopher Ranch peeled garlic comes from the good ol' US of A.

                              1. re: ferret
                                Barbara76137 Nov 9, 2010 07:05 PM

                                Gilroy, CA!

                            2. onceadaylily Nov 9, 2010 07:45 AM

                              I think you perhaps *are* talking about a stick blender? I would think you would run the risk of making a paste, rather than a mince. But, you know, garlic isn't expensive, and my market is still plagued with shriveled, sprouting bulbs, so now's a good time to experiment, I guess.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: onceadaylily
                                alkapal Nov 9, 2010 08:26 AM

                                hey once a day lily, have you found the christopher ranch peeled garlic? or the trader joe's version? I LOVE it -- no shrivels, no peeling, easy to use, no brown dead dried-out cloves.

                                1. re: alkapal
                                  onceadaylily Nov 9, 2010 09:07 AM

                                  I haven't looked for it. Every week we say we're running out to TJ's, and we never quite make it there, but I'll keep my eye out.

                                  I thought the newest garlic crop was supposed to have been harvested a few months ago? I think the retailers I use are hoarding it while they try to sell down the old stuff.

                                  1. re: alkapal
                                    Pia Nov 10, 2010 09:37 AM

                                    Doesn't it only come in a huge jar? I'm tempted whenever I see it, but I think I won't use it up in time before it starts going bad. Does it last a long time?

                                    1. re: Pia
                                      alkapal Nov 10, 2010 01:00 PM

                                      no -- it comes in a plastic bag with smaller sealed packets inside. lasts well. google a pic.

                                2. alkapal Nov 9, 2010 06:10 AM

                                  the garlic cloves will only be done in a rough, irregular chop, because the blades of the hand blender are too high off the bottom to get a fine mince. if you're adding salt, the abrasive quality of the salt will help the garlic to be cut more finely. (here i am talking about a mini-chopper, like my black and decker handy chopper).


                                  OOH wait, are you talking "hand blender" as in stick blender? it has holes on the side. won't the garlic come out as you whir?

                                  for a small amount of garlic, why not just chop it by hand?

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