A garlic press is a
kitchen utensildesigned to crush garliccloves efficiently by forcing them through a grid of small holes, usually with some type of piston. Many garlic presses also have a device with a matching grid of blunt pins to clean out the holes.
Garlic presses present a convenient alternative to
mincinggarlic with a knife, especially because a clove of garlic can be passed through a sturdy press without even removing its peel. The peel remains in the press while the garlic is extruded out. Some sources [For example, the [http://www.epicurious.com/cooking/how_to/food_dictionary/entry?id=2683 Epicurious Food Dictionary] ] also claim that pressing with the peel on makes cleaning the press easier.
Garlic crushed by a press is generally believed to have a different flavor from minced garlic; since more cell walls are broken, more of garlic's strong flavor compounds are liberated. A few sources prefer the flavor of pressed garlic. Raw-foods chef Renée Underkoffler says "a good garlic press makes dealing with garlic a clean pleasure. Pressed garlic has a lighter, more delicate flavor than minced garlic because it excludes the bitter center stem." [cite book|author=Underkoffler, Renée|title=Living Cuisine: The Art and Spirit of Raw Foods|publisher=Avery|year=2004|id=ISBN 1-58333-171-9 p. 179.] The magazine "
Cook's Illustrated" says "a good garlic press can break down cloves more finely and evenly than an average cook using a knife, which means better distribution of garlic flavor throughout any given dish."Wu, Sandra. "Notes from Readers", "Cook's Illustrated", Sept. & Oct. 2006 p. 3.]
On the other hand, some chefs say garlic crushed in a press has an inferior flavor compared to other forms of garlic. For instance, chef
Anthony Bourdaincalls garlic presses "abominations" and advises "don't" put it through a press. I don't know what that junk is that squeezes out of the end of those things, but it ain't garlic." [cite book | author=Bourdain, Anthony | title=Kitchen Confidential | publisher=HarperCollins | year=2001 | id=ISBN 0-06-093491-3 p. 81.] The British cookery writer Elizabeth Davidonce wrote an essay titled 'Garlic Presses are Utterly Useless'; [cite book | author=David, Elizabeth | title=Is There a Nutmeg in the House? | publisher=Viking | year=2000 | id=ISBN 0-670-03033-3 p. 51.] Alton Brownhas expressed suspicion towards them on account of being "unitaskers" for the most part.
"Cook's Illustrated" lists some additional uses for a garlic press, such as mashing other small items (including
olives, capers, anchovies, and canned chipotles) or pressing out small quantities of onionor shallotjuice.
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