How To Mince Garlic Extra-Fine Without A Garlic Press

Garlic is one of the most beloved ingredients globally. Everything from classic Italian dishes like aglio e olio, Chinese beef stir-fries, or curries from Tanzania calls for the humble allium. But, of course, there's nothing wrong with just sprinkling some onto garlic bread, either.

One of the keys to making the most out of garlic in any recipe is understanding how it breaks down chemically. According to NPR, one of the main reasons that we dice, chop, slice, and grind ingredients differently is to release chemical enzymes. These enzymes within certain ingredients break down in different ways to then produce different flavors.

Jessica Gavin notes that when chopping garlic, the ingredient releases a chemical called allicin, a sulfurous compound that creates the well-known trademark odor and flavors of the allium. The more we cut it, the more we release these flavors, and one of the best ways to get a ton of flavor from garlic is by giving it a quick mince. It can be tricky, though, if you don't have the knife skills to do quick work out of multiple cloves. Yes, you can always buy a garlic press, but who needs another kitchen tool in their drawers? Luckily, there are better options out there.

Using a fork makes for easy mincing

A quick and easy way to mince garlic is to simply use a fork instead of a knife. According to Kitchn, the tines of a fork can replicate the same mincing as a garlic press. Simply remove the garlic's outer skin, place it on your cutting surface, and press it with the underside of the fork until it's broken down sufficiently. Voilà! Easily minced garlic. This is a great way to avoid a ton of chopping and let kids help out in the kitchen without having to worry about sliced fingers.

MasterClass notes that mincing is typically defined as cutting something down into pieces that are less than 1/8th of an inch on each side. Jessica Gavin also notes that garlic should often be minced just before it's added to a dish. Because those smaller pieces are releasing a ton of allicin, it also makes them extra pungent. Those flavors will build up over time, so they can become overbearing for some people if they're left to mature.

It's also important to note that garlic doesn't always need mincing (via Kitchn). If you're using it in a soup or braising liquid, simply adding a smashed clove will do more than enough to break down your garlic.