Why You Should Be Using Your Garlic Press More Often

From professional chefs to everyday eaters, a common saying survives the ages: There's no such thing as too much garlic. Love it or hate it, this bulbous herb from the Allium onion family is here to stay. If you accept ancient advice from Greek physician Hippocrates to let food be your medicine, then garlic is high on the list of beneficial food sources for preventive health, explains Michigan State University.

Studies abound that show its benefits, like heart and bone health, cancer prevention and a reduction in Alzheimer's development (via Healthline). But the uncontested virtues of fresh garlic lie in a power-pack of vitamins and minerals, including manganese, selenium, and vitamins C and B6. However, scientists say that, due to the formation of sulfur compounds, those healthy components only activate when garlic is sliced, diced, chopped, or smashed. That's where a garlic press enters the picture, providing an easy way to get those healthy tidbits into your system.

How a garlic press helps with food preparation

First, let's look at what a garlic press actually is and how it works. It's certainly not a high-tech gadget, and the magic lies in simplicity. Powered by good old-fashioned hand motion and typically constructed with sturdy stainless steel, a garlic press resembles a nutcracker in form and function, notes Master Class. A circular bowl holds one or more cloves of fresh garlic that, after pressing, becomes minced garlic that's released through a grid of small holes in the bowl base. A major benefit is that you get fresh minced garlic in seconds, saving time from the otherwise tedious chore of dicing it up by hand.

Ease of use and the time-saving factor generally means that you'll use fresh pressed garlic more often, receiving a health boost and flavor infusion from quick-make items such as garlic bread, salad dressings, and marinades, explains Dora Stone, creator of the vegan Mexican cooking site Dora's Table (via Well+Good). The pureed texture of pressed garlic accommodates recipes requiring raw or semi-raw garlic, which is important, according to Michigan State University, since cooking garlic can cut health benefits by as much as 90%.

So, how do you choose the best garlic press? Like the tool itself, the answer is simple. In addition to buying one that's well-constructed and comfortable to use, Stone says the most important feature of a press is how easy it is to clean. Her gauge is this: If it takes longer to clean than it does to dice garlic with a knife by hand, then you haven't chosen the right garlic press.