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Garlic Press - do you believe in them?

I do. I believe you get different results using it, rather than chopping (or mashing, etc.) for every dish you make.

For instance, my SIL loves my tzatziki. I told her how I made it.......and several times she has made it, she says "it never tastes like yours". After many attempts, I found out that she didn't use a garlic press, she chopped her garlic. I tell her, that's the key - to use a press. I even went out and bought her one. She must've thrown it out b/c I can't find it in her kitchen anymore.

She swears there's no need to use one at any time. I do. Thoughts?

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  1. I love, love, love my garlic press. That said, I've been chopping with kosher salt lately- just in a phase after I saw this method.
    It really helps.

    1 Reply
    1. re: monavano

      Yes, I do that w/ a creamy garlic dressing that I make - makes it into a fine paste.

    2. I got rid of my garlic press when I learned the trick to grate things like garlic and ginger on my microplane grater. Turn it 'upside down' and it stays on the grater and you can see how much you're getting. Otherwise I slice as taught by Batali.

      6 Replies
        1. re: daislander

          I can't find a picture so let me try to describe. Hold it like you normally would where whatever you grate is going to come out below/underneath. Reverse that and hold the garlic or whatever underneath and grate. The food will stay on the inside/top of the grater. Much easier to do a certain amount.

          1. re: c oliver

            Thats what I thought. I don't think id have the nerve. Even watching my fingers get near those blades makes me nervous. Id slice threw for sure.

            1. re: daislander

              I kinda hold things perpendicular to and between my index and middle finger, if that makes any sense.

                1. re: daislander

                  Oh, he tends to slice rather than chop garlic. At least on the old Molto Mario's he did.

      1. For a small amount, I use my microplane. For more than a couple cloves, I use this Garlic Twister. I hate, hate, hate garlic presses.

        8 Replies
        1. re: grampart

          I love the garlic twist. There's a learning curve, but I like it better than a press.

            1. re: DuffyH

              It takes a certain technique with a butter knife to get all the garlic out. ;)

              1. re: Becca Porter

                I use a small wooden skewer to get between the teeth. btw, this gadget also works very well on small amounts of weed.

                1. re: grampart

                  But I wouldn't recommend using a grinder for garlic :-D

                    1. re: grampart

                      Blech. Sorry, no intent to yuck your yum, but I keep my herbs and my cooking separately.

          1. I microplane nowadays. The garlic press was great but too annoying to clean. Plus, the microplane is a multitasker so it eliminates at least one gadget in my kitchen.

            9 Replies
            1. re: Hobbert

              That's exactly how I felt when I put it in the donation box.

              1. re: c oliver

                I have a kitchen gadget addiction that I'm working on...

              2. re: Hobbert

                Over the years I've bought versions of the conventional garlic press. Each new version claims to be easier to clean, but I've never noticed a difference and I've gotten rid of every one. And then, I discovered the Joseph brand. Here's a link to a photograph of the press:


                This is much simpler to clean and I find I'm using this gadget.

                1. re: Indy 67

                  I've got several Joseph items and love that brand! Especially the cooking utensils that have a little ledge so they don't rest directly on the stove or counter top. Very smart designs!

                  1. re: Indy 67

                    Indy, your link shows a couple of styles. Which one are you endorsing?

                    1. re: ChillyDog

                      When I click on the link, there's a large photo in the center of the screen showing the same utensil in three different colors. The black press is empty, but oriented right side up. The purple one is upside down. And the green one shows the aftermath of having mashed a clove of garlic. I admit, this image doesn't make as much sense to someone who has never used the Joseph press.

                      Here's the way I use this press: I put the clove of garlic on a plate or chopping board and place the "mesh" section over the garlic clove. Then, I grab both sides of the gizmo and press down rocking back and forth. The mashed garlic oozes up through the mesh like you see in the green utensil at the bottom.

                      The holes of the Joseph tool are slightly larger than those of all the other garlic presses I've owned. This makes it easier to clean, but this also may mean I need to repeat the mashing process. If so, I simply scoop the garlic pulp off the grater, put it back on the plate/chopping board and repeat the process.

                      The clean up with this tool is a fraction of the time and effort I used to put into cleaning my traditional style graters. I, who am anti-gadget, love this gadget.

                      And it appears that I'm not the only one. I just did a search in the Sur La Table web site to see if I could find another photo for you. The Joseph tool is one of 15 versions that come up with a search. There's a box that says "Best Seller" next to the Joseph model.

                      FWIW, my gadget is colored plastic like the photograph I first posted. The model featured on the Sur La Table web site is all stainless and the text claims that using stainless will remove the garlic smell from your hands. I have no idea whether this is true or not. I'm perfectly happy with my plastic version.

                  2. re: Hobbert

                    Another vote for the microplane over the press. You get a better consistency of garlic smush (that is the technical term, I believe) with a lot less waste.

                    1. re: TVHilton

                      Better than the garlic press? I respectfully disagree- strongly.

                  3. I try to minimize gadgets but used to have a garlic press. It never worked as well as my mother's. it wasted too much garlic. Now I chop, grate on a micro plane or use my mortar and pestle. Usually the micro plane is in place of crushing garlic. I hope to inherit the other press some day but otherwise my methods work and taste like mom's.

                    1. broke mine 20+ years ago and have never looked back.

                      Microplane, mortar and pestle, or chef's knife -- haven't seen a good reason to buy a press, and probably never will.

                      1. Yes. A friend gave me a super press for Christmas that can press multiple cloves at one time. Since developing arthritis in my right hand,I have to have my husband pressing the garlic.

                        1. Love them love them, in use constantly. One is in the shop for its 3000 clove maintenance. The other one sings melodious rhapsodies with it's squeaky hinge.

                          1. Love my garlic press. I've had it for 20 years, at least. I take it overseas in the summer.

                            Sure, you can smash garlic with a chef's knife, but the press is so easy to use and clean, and you get all that lovely garlic juice -- perfect for salad dressings or warm sauces.

                            Wouldn't want to live without it.

                            1. I used to use it a lot more, until I tried using the mortar & pestle with a pinch of salt (for Deborah Madison's VCFE version of tzatziki). That paste is a completely different substance from what comes out of the press, and seems to do a better job of uniting with other ingredients -- so I use the m&p method for baba ghanoush, hummus, guacamole, etc.

                              What I do still use the press for is spaghetti carbonara -- mixing the pressed garlic with an egg and grated Parm. But that's about the only thing. When Asian dishes call for grated ginger and minced garlic, I use a knife for the garlic and just take the extra minute to get it evenly fine.

                              1. There's nothing to believe in. I do use one though.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: rasputina

                                  I do believe I had different models of them over the years.
                                  I do believe the last one broke a longtime ago.
                                  I do believe that the microplane is easier to use, and to clean.
                                  I don't believe I will ever have need for another one.

                                2. There's a very detectable difference, to me anyway, between dishes made with garlic cut differently:
                                  -pounded/ground to a paste w/a minimum of salt,
                                  -mashed through a press,
                                  -finely minced,
                                  -coarsely chopped,
                                  -finely sliced,
                                  -"bruised"/semi-smashed (whole, peeled, but with a split area from being pressed under the flat of the knife),
                                  -whole (or halved, if necessary to remove the sprout).

                                  A press releases a lot more of the volatile substances than mincing.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. Not really. I haven't had one since the last one broke, maybe 7 years ago. I mince, smash with the side of a knife, use mortar and pestle, microplane, and mash with salt depending on the application. I don't feel the need for a press.

                                    1. Question for the microplane fans on this thread.... do you wear gloves or something when you grate the garlic?

                                      One of the many reasons I love my press is that my fingers won't reek of garlic for hours after using it.

                                      15 Replies
                                      1. re: linguafood

                                        I don't wear gloves. It's funny. Must be my chemistry or skin or something but I just wash my hands well and the smell is gone. Or at least no one has told me otherwise :)

                                        1. re: c oliver

                                          Ok, not as bad as handling raclette cheese :-D

                                          1. re: linguafood

                                            But so worth it! (We're the only people we know with TWO raclette grills!)

                                            1. re: c oliver

                                              I can eat that cheese "raw." It's fantastic with good baguette or ciabatta. Or just like that.

                                          2. re: c oliver

                                            Same here. Big on the microplane and have used it for years. Also great to grate (haha) ginger. I always hated cleaning the garlic press, and will never look back.

                                            No issue with smell, because the clove is held above the plane and I don't come in contact with the pureed portion. I scrape it off from the bottom and add to my whatever. I can get the clove down to bits and I'm not concerned with fingers. The root end is a good handle.

                                            1. re: breadchick

                                              Much better description than mine.

                                          3. re: linguafood

                                            Me too- I hate handling raw garlic, which is a real challenge, because I use the stuff all the time.

                                            1. re: linguafood

                                              Just rub your Hands on Stainless Steel ( either the Sink or a Pot or Utensil) under running Water ant the garlic smell is gone. But use and like my Zyliss Garlic Press.

                                              1. re: linguafood

                                                "wash" your hands with stainless steel.

                                                I rub a table spoon over my fingers under running water -- other hounds say they rub their hands on the faucet.

                                                I don't pretend to know why, but wet stainless takes the odor off of your skin.

                                                (whoops -- crossed the streams with chefj)

                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                  Most people don't know about wiping with stainless to remove odors from your hands (works with fish as well).

                                                  They sell those stainless "bars of soap" but you can use what you already have in your kitchen drawer.

                                                  A stainless spoon works great.

                                                  1. re: JayL

                                                    I've heard about it plenty of times. I guess I should finally try it, since we have a stainless steel sink.

                                                    Then again.... I have a garlic press :-)

                                                    1. re: linguafood

                                                      Try to do it when no one's around. Because the first time you rub your hands on your sink you're going to feel like the world's biggest dork. I know I did. :)

                                                      1. re: DuffyH

                                                        You don't know what else I rub my hands on when nobody's looking :-D

                                                        1. re: linguafood

                                                          And you REALLY don't want to tell us, unless you want to win today's big "O", for oversharing. :)

                                                2. re: linguafood

                                                  And I love my microplanes, too, but God help me, I have acrylic fingernails to think about. I keep them short, but...

                                                3. I love my garlic press, but I don't use it interchangeably with other methods. I use it when I'm mostly after the juice and not so much the solids, particularly when I'm using it raw and don't want larger garlic chunks (salad dressings) or when I'm really going for a smooth texture (sauces etc.). I also use it to juice fresh ginger. It's absolutely necessary for making the hot lemon and honey with ginger I drink whenever I have a cold.

                                                  1. not really although I own a few :(

                                                    .....I just wanna be Martin Yan

                                                    1. I love mine when doing more then one clove. I micro plane one or two. And certain dishes of course you slice for. Im still using my mortise and pestle for dryer spice blends but I bet it would be great for garlic. Presses are not created equal.

                                                      1. Any method, like a press or mortar, that releases more juices compared to slicing would probably matter a good deal in a rather "fresh" preparation like tzatziki or salad dressing. The difference is surely lessened with longer cooking times.

                                                        I have all the devices mentioned here and use them either deliberately for different purposes or just on whim. I actually haven't used my microplane for garlic yet, though, and must give that a try.

                                                        When I say I have all the devices, that includes the garlic twister that grampart mentions above. That's a nifty tool for smashing up many cloves of garlic and keeping your hands pretty clean. I'm surprised it's not more widely used.

                                                        But, with other people here, I find that stainless steel makes short work of garlic smells on the fingers, so it's not a big issue in any case.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: Bada Bing

                                                          'That's a nifty tool for smashing up many cloves of garlic and keeping your hands pretty clean. I'm surprised it's not more widely used.'

                                                          All the pot smokers bought them up to chop up there weed with lol

                                                          Ive tried one before but I found the garlic just got all stuck and wouldn't come out very nicely. (the weed come out great)

                                                          Ikea has had some good presses over the years.

                                                        2. I don't want to throw out your garlic press. However I dislike using them. I use a round stone to smash my cloves, pull off the papery outside, and then either smash further, or chop for the dish.

                                                          I have found this to be the easiest way to get garlic into a dish. So I use the easiest way.

                                                          1. Tzatziki (and mine is very good, if I do say so myself) is one of the few uses I have found for the garlic press. Essentially I use it only for uncooked dishes, never for cooking. For cooking, I hardly ever even chop, but rather just crush and later remove whole cloves. I use the press sometimes if I'm preparing a lot of tomatoes in advance for bruschetta al pomodoro. It's a cheat and not better than rubbing each slice of toast, but I have only two hands.

                                                            I must say, I have had some kitchen gadgets for decades, but I go through garlic presses pretty fast, especially considering I hardly ever even use them. I have never found a perfect one and will now try the Microplane instead, but only wearing a protective glove since the very idea is terrifying.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: mbfant

                                                              I agree. Tzatziki is best made with a press.

                                                              If I am making it in a kitchen without a press, I use a large chefs knife and a pinch of salt to crush and mash the garlic.

                                                              I've been thru a few presses thru the years. some suck. some are ok. some are good.

                                                              find one you like. use it.
                                                              i like a lot of garlic in my food. i use the press to crush the garlic.

                                                              EITHER way, no matter your method of crushing, mashing, microplaning, etc. garlic, i find that if I press or crush or mash into a small dish and let it oxidize for a few minutes before adding it to whatever, I get a lot more garlic flavor than just pressing it directly into another ingredient or the pot, etc...

                                                            2. I press, mince or chop depending on what I am preparing, Personally I find that pressed garlic releases more flavor then minced or chopped.

                                                              1. Garlic slicer is great when I want a lot of very thinly sliced garlic. http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/store...

                                                                1. It has been years since I owned a garlic press but if I recall correctly, there was always a bit of garlic left inside the press that never made its way through the holes so if I really wanted to use a up a full 2 cloves of garlic, I'd have to chop up those remnants anyway.

                                                                  Nowadays I use a a mortar and pestle to skin the garlic and mash it. I do have a microplane grater, but it's a pain to wash garlic off it since it usually ends up also microplaning my sponge in the process.

                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                  1. re: JungMann

                                                                    My MP gets a good rinse right afterwards and I run the sponge in the "smooth" direction.

                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                      I think the key is to wash it immediately after using it, which I admittedly don't do. By the time I do get to it 10-30 minutes later, the garlic (but more typically ginger) is already dried on and needs to be scrubbed out.

                                                                      1. re: JungMann

                                                                        Just so. I do the same thing after using any of my graters, whether for cheese, garlic, ginger, whatever I'm grating. Immediate cleaning is critical, and takes moments, as opposed to a hassle after dinner.

                                                                        Come to think of it, cheese, garlic and ginger are about the only things I grate.

                                                                          1. re: Gastronomos

                                                                            Well, of course! Everyone needs a little keratin in their diet, right? ;)

                                                                        1. re: JungMann

                                                                          put it in a glass with some water

                                                                      2. What's there to believe in? I find them useful. Mine broke a few months ago and I must admit that many times I miss it.

                                                                        1. I gave up my garlic press years ago.

                                                                          If I need really fine garlic, I either microplane it, or use my ceramic ginger grater (no risk of sliced fingertips there).

                                                                          1. I have the Tupperware garlic press, which actually works really well.

                                                                            Cutting versus chopping versus mincing garlic results in different flavours.

                                                                            And it's not a unitasker. You can press ginger :)

                                                                            1. I believe we have one and that it is only used by Mr Rat, who loves it. Myself, I either chop the garlic or mash it in the mortar and pestle.

                                                                                1. I love my garlic press.

                                                                                  It was a very basic one my parents gave me when I was setting up a kitchen of my own, and they were upgrading to a new one. Nearly 20 years later they've gone through multiple ones, and I'm still using it, for garlic and ginger.

                                                                                  I find the press faster and more efficient than the microplane - you always lose part of the clove to keep your fingers safe (and planing small cloves is basically impossible), and ginger gets fibrous and you have to keep trimming it.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                                                                    Nah, I have to disagree here. I can micro small cloves with no problem at all. Literally running it down to the nib. It's all in the technique, I guess. But, to each their own. :)

                                                                                  2. Do I BELIEVE in garlic presses?

                                                                                    Well, and this is just my opinion, mind you, but I don't think garlic presses are something we can choose to believe in; they just are, aren't they? Unicorns, now there's something we can believe in. But I've seen garlic presses, so I'm pretty sure they exist.

                                                                                    Seriously, I've owned 3 in the past, but when my last one went to the kitchen gadget graveyard, I was just too upset by it's loss (or the loss of the $$), so have vowed to never own another. But that teeter-totter looking thingy has me wondering....

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                      You didn't get the RIGHT one or it would have lasted you forever, just sayin'.

                                                                                      1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                        They didn't break. The aluminum on the part where the garlic is expressed turned black, or I scraped it off the underlying steel. Either way, I no longer wanted to use them. My knife and microplane work fine.

                                                                                        And I just defended your position down below, so don't get on my case about buying inferior presses, 'k?

                                                                                    2. for somethings i use it. like meatballs and salad dressing.

                                                                                      1. Yes I believe in them but I can no longer use one. Arthritis in my right hand is too painful. I do have a new garlic smasher rocker from Joseph Joseph. It is stainless steel, slightly curved with the perforated grid in the middle. You put the garlic down on whatever you are going to mash it on and then mash it down. Voila!


                                                                                        1. Probably sacrilege here, but for most cooked dishes which call for finely minced garlic, I pop in a cube or two of the Dorot frozen garlic which is now available at TJ's, Whole Foods, and many other markets. It's easy, clean and tastes just fine. There are a few dishes that I make where I prefer thin slices of fresh garlic (some pastas, chicken cacciatore, etc.) and that's what I use. I can't remember the last time I used my beautiful and expensive German garlic press (it's Rösle, I think)!

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: josephnl

                                                                                            Walmart, of all places, also carries those mini-cubes of minced garlic (they also have cilantro, ginger, and basil)

                                                                                            I bought a package of basil and garlic out of sheer curiousity -- and I really like them...much easier to pop a couple of little cubes out of the freezer than try to keep fresh basil and ginger on hand and *fresh* all the time.

                                                                                          2. I hate the things, they are a pain to clean. I just grate garlic on a microplane most of the time (the finer it's broken down, the more intense the flavor is, so a smaller amount works well).

                                                                                            1. The only bad feature of garlic presses is cleaning them. In practice, most people don't clean out all the little holes very well, and the average home garlic press is smelly and grungy even after a trip through a dishwasher. Putting a clove on a cutting board and whacking it (once) with the side of a large knife blade works for me.

                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: emu48

                                                                                                My press has a doohicky on board that presses the squished garlic out and cleans the holes.
                                                                                                Pretty nifty.
                                                                                                I use the press and I use my knife, it just depends on the dish I'm cooking and my mood.

                                                                                                1. re: emu48

                                                                                                  If you leave them in the Skin it cleans out quite easily

                                                                                                2. Hi!! oh my gosh! my daughters name is chloe and we have called her chlobelle for soo long! My dad was born and raised in Alabama! Thank you for the boiled peanut advice..i remember picking purple peanuts in the south when I was young! They were so good!

                                                                                                  1. I abso-farking-lutely believe in my garlic press! I have a couple of great ones and turn my nose up at people that turn their noses up at people who use them. Mince if you want to, but don't judge me, it's not like I'm using the prechopped stuff in jars, I mean, hey.

                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                      <I have a couple of great ones and turn my nose up at people that turn their noses up at people who use them.>

                                                                                                      As if there's something better about knife-minced garlic??

                                                                                                      I don't own a garlic press and mostly use a knife. But that's because I've had bad luck with presses. It's no trouble and very easy to use my chef's knife. Does it make me a better person than you? Somehow I don't think it does. Just a guess.

                                                                                                      1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                        "As if there's something better about knife-minced garlic?? "

                                                                                                        In my opinion, dear Duffy, yes.

                                                                                                        1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                          Well, I'll give you that on a technicality, because knife-minced won't be quite as smashed as pressed garlic. OTOH, we get a bit more juice from a press.

                                                                                                    2. Every time this post bumps up in my profile queue, I have to chuckle. I mean, do I believe in garlic presses? No, and I don't believe in Santa or a free lunch either. But, I am sure garlic presses work well for some people.

                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                        Hey Sue,

                                                                                                        I keep thinking it's a trick question, somehow related to Karma. You know, one of those things like if a man makes speaks in a forest and no woman is around to hear him, is he still wrong?

                                                                                                      2. I think I've figured out that people have their WAYS with garlic, and everybody has their way of making it perfect for their recipe. I am no different.

                                                                                                        1. Depending on the recipe, I will use a garlic press, a Microplane, a Joseph Joseph garlic rocker, a knife, or a tiny little garlic slicer. What's the problem? Just choose the right tool for the particular job. That's also why people own pans of different sizes that are made of various materials.

                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: tanuki soup

                                                                                                            There ya go. Wise words.

                                                                                                            How does the garlic from a press compare to the stuff from the rocker? They have similar holes, so I'd think it's about the same.

                                                                                                            1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                              IME, the rocker makes garlic with a unique texture. The holes are actually quite a bit larger than those in a press, and the lower cutting edges of the holes are pretty sharp. With the first smoosh of the rocker, you get little columns of garlic about 3 mm in diameter coming up through the holes, and they get taller and fall over as you rock back and forth. So the rocker is great if you want medium-sized chunks of partially smooshed garlic -- about the size and shape the erasers on those fancy German and Japanese mechanical drafting pencils.

                                                                                                              Here's a quick pic showing the Joseph Joseph Garlic Rocker next to a Kuhn Rikon Epicurean garlic press for comparison.

                                                                                                              1. re: tanuki soup

                                                                                                                Thanks a lot, TS. Especially for taking that photo. It's easy to see a difference.