Garlic press

Garlic being crushed using a garlic press.
Many garlic presses also have a device with a matching grid of blunt pins to clean out the holes.

A garlic press (also known as a garlic crusher in Australia and New Zealand), is a kitchen utensil to crush garlic cloves 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 mincing garlic 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[1] 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, 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."[2] 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."[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 Bourdain calls 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."[4] The British cookery writer Elizabeth David once wrote an essay titled "Garlic Presses are Utterly Useless".[5] Alton Brown has expressed suspicion about them on account of their having only one function.

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 onion or shallot juice.[3]


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  1. For example, the Epicurious Food Dictionary
  2. Underkoffler, Renée (2004). Living Cuisine: The Art and Spirit of Raw Foods. Avery. ISBN 1-58333-171-9. p. 179.
  3. 1 2 Wu, Sandra. "Notes from Readers", Cook's Illustrated, Sept. & Oct. 2006 p. 3.
  4. Bourdain, Anthony (2001). Kitchen Confidential. HarperCollins. ISBN 0-06-093491-3. p. 81.
  5. David, Elizabeth (2000). Is There a Nutmeg in the House?. Viking. ISBN 0-670-03033-3. p. 51.
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