What To Consider When Buying A Garlic Press

Of all the kitchen gadgets that have come and gone over the years, the garlic press has staying power. While you don't need extensive knife skills to be able to properly work with garlic, the simple act of crushing the cloves and having them minced within a matter of seconds is highly appealing. While it is inconclusive to say that pressed garlic provides a better flavor than traditional knife minced garlic — see Fine Cooking —  devotees of either school are likely inclined to support their preferred method.

However, for those who care relatively little about the intricacies of extracting minute flavor profiles from these pungent little bulbs, there is a case to be made for the garlic press. It saves time, of course, but did you know that a garlic press could also be beneficial for your health? Pressed garlic is best when used in recipes calling for raw or semi-raw garlic. According to Healthline, raw garlic supports the immune system, can improve heart health, and stabilize blood sugar. Conversely, cooked garlic can lose up to 90% of its nutritious value, according to a study conducted by Michigan State University. And while health and time are important in and of themselves, consistency is the real key when shopping for a garlic press. 

Consistency is key

With the numerous recipes that use garlic for its added spring, the element of consistency within the mince is extremely important. It's vital that your garlic press accomplishes its job by producing a consistency that average knife skills can't match. America's Test Kitchen rigorously tested several garlic presses for consistency in how well they crushed the cloves and the uniformity of the resulting mince. Uniformity among minced garlic allows for more even cooking. The garlic clings better to the other ingredients, allowing for a more balanced flavor. Unevenness in the garlic pieces can cause easily cause burning as some pieces take longer to cook due to their larger size. By the same token, unevenness can also result in undercooking, inevitably leading to someone getting a mouthful of raw garlic. 

Now, you're not going to line up the garlic presses at William-Sonoma and start testing them by crushing all the bulbs you've stored away in your purse. What you should look for in the garlic press is the quality of the materials used, the overall consistency of the bladed squares on the grid the garlic will be pressed through, and if the foot that presses down on the garlic covers the grid and allows for even weight distribution when pressing. Online research is also beneficial, with sources like ATK being excellent havens of well-tested material.