Garlic: To Press Or Not To Press


{See below about winning the garlic press to end all garlic presses.}

Over the years, I’ve gone back and forth on this burning issue: is it a good idea to press garlic?

The question sparks surprisingly violent debates, and often there’s an undercurrent of judgment (“real cooks just chop”) that I find out of place in any cooking discussion: there’s no single right way of doing anything, just different skills and circumstances.

As far as I can tell, here are the pros of each method:

Pros of pressing garlic:

– In just a few seconds and a single gesture, you get garlic pulp that you can add to your dish right away.
– If your knife skills aren’t those of a pro, it can be a challenge to get the garlic chopped evenly so it will cook evenly.
– Pressed garlic blends smoothly with other ingredients, which is particularly useful if you use it raw.
– It limits the lingering smell on your fingers, since you can avoid touching the garlic altogether if you prefer.

Pros of chopping by hand:

– It takes more time to clean the average garlic press than a knife and a cutting board, which you would probably have to clean anyway.
– No one-trick pony taking up space in your utensil drawer.
– You have control over how finely or roughly your garlic is cut.
– You use the whole clove, with none wasted in the crevices of the press.

In my own kitchen, I use a bit of both methods, and sometimes I’ll use my Microplane grater, too. I will usually chop my garlic if I’m already chopping other ingredients, but I reach for the garlic press when I’m pressed for time (ha ha), especially if I add the garlic as a second thought when I’m improvising a dish.

Until recently, I was using the one from Ikea (similar to this one, but without the removable insert), and liked it okay. I found the easiest way to clean it was to press unpeeled cloves, so that when I pulled out the peel, everything came with it (and this I would save in my stock box in the freezer). Any leftover bits of garlic I scrubbed out immediately, using the bristles of my potato brush or my fingernails, as needed.

Garlic pressI am now using the Savora garlic press* that Lifetime Brands, an American-based company that manufactures many household products, sent me to try.

The big advantage of this model is that you can unscrew the metal grid entirely, which makes it a cinch to clean using just the pressure of the water from the sink faucet. It also has a larger capacity than most, so you can press several cloves at once if you need to (though it takes a pretty strong hand and I don’t find it very comfortable), and a clear lid that tops the grid and measures exactly a tablespoon, if you’re the kind of cook who follows tablespoon measurements for garlic (not judging!).

And now, for the giveaway!

Because I am happy with this new tool, I asked Savora if they would give away five garlic presses to readers of Chocolate & Zucchini. To enter, simply leave a comment below before Monday, February 4, midnight Paris time (GMT+1), sharing your thoughts on garlic, and whether or not to press it.

I will then draw five winners randomly, and announce them here on Tuesday, February 5. Please note that the prizes can only be shipped to US, Canada, or UK addresses (but if you live elsewhere, it would be fine to use a friend’s address in one of those countries). And of course, make sure you enter your email address correctly so I can contact you if you win. Good luck!

Contest results!

I have drawn five random numbers through, and the results are screen-captured below. These comment numbers belong respectively to Carla G., Kate C., Clara Currier, Miss UK, and Bob Patterson, our lucky winners, whom I will email with instructions.

Giveaway results

To all the other participants, thank you so much for entering, and sharing your entertaining thoughts and valuable tips on garlic — I hope you win next time!

* You can follow all things Savora on their Facebook and Pinterest pages.

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