I was at a dinner party the other night and a friend starting raving about her garlic press: "mince this" and "mince that". I rolled my eyes and said, "Ugh, I'm so anti garlic press"— which prompted massive debate. WHY WAS A FOOD EDITOR WAGING WAR AGAINST THE GARLIC PRESS?! Oh, I'll tell ya.
1. The texture is mush.
As a garlic lover, I want a defined texture, whether I mince it fine for a marinade or roughly chop for a pasta sauce. When I press garlic, it tends to get too fine for my taste. I don't want no garlic juice!
2. The flavor gets a lil' more intense.
I know, kinda hard to believe, but the very serious folks over at Serious Eats actually tested how the flavor of garlic changes depending on how you prep it. The results? Traditional knife chopping creates the most mellow flavor, while running a clove through the press made it much more aggressive. (One tester even described the flavor as "farty.") Fascinating stuff, right?!
3. It burns SO fast.
When you mince garlic that finely, it tends to burn instantly. Make sure the heat on your stove is extra low. For this reason, a press is a solid option for no-cook sauces like pesto and green goddess dressing.
4. It's a one-trick pony.
I really try to limit the number of uni-taskers that I have in my kitchen, like a strawberry huller or avocado keeper. (OK, OK, I can totally get behind the pineapple corer for these.) But truly, I don't want to waste my tiny storage space on a press.
5. It's hardly a time-saver.
I rarely make a recipe with only one clove garlic — I'm Italian! — so for me, when chopping two or three cloves at a time, a garlic press isn't exactly saving much time. I've found that instead of individually pressing clove by clove, I can use the back of my knife to smash off its papery skin, then chop all of the cloves at once.
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