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Garlic: minced v pressed

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MikeH

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Garlic: minced v pressed

by MikeH » Fri Feb 16, 2007 2:32 am

I have difficulty obeying a recipe that calls for minced garlic. To my way of thinking, why spend a lot of time cutting a clove into tiny little pieces (and stenchifying my hands in the process) when I can spend about zero time squashing it through a press and get pretty much the same impact.

Am I missing something here? Just plain lazy?
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Bob Ross

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Re: Garlic: minced v pressed

by Bob Ross » Fri Feb 16, 2007 3:22 am

I haven't used for the press for the past six years. I found it more trouble than it was worth to clean. It took longer to deal with getting all the bits out of it than it did to swack a clove with a knife and then mince it up.

Try this technique:

1. Cut off the ends of the garlic and remove the outer skins. Takes the same time either way.

2. Put the blade of your knife over the garlic cloves and smoosh them flat. About as much time as putting the cloves in the press.

3. Chop the garlic fine -- don't touch it -- just chop chop chop, line it up, chop chop chop. Three or four times. Takes about ten seconds longer than squishing the clove in the press.

4. Clean up all the garlic with the blade of your knife. Cleaning up the garlic press will take much longer, and your yield will be lower.

5. Wipe off your knife and go on to other projects. The garlic press either has to be cleaned by hand or put in the dishwasher.

One other advantage of the smoosh and chop chop chop -- one less thing to store in your kitchen tool drawer. And the knife doesn't break -- the way my last garlic press did.

Frankly, I find chop chop chop easier than the garlic press. Improves my knife skills for other projects like onions.

Your mileage may vary of course. No crusader here -- just a lazy cook who likes practicing knife skills and hates cleanup.

Regards, Bob
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Re: Garlic: minced v pressed

by MikeH » Fri Feb 16, 2007 3:40 am

Bob, most of your reply is applicable to, and true about, older garlic presses. I have a Zyliss Jumbo which 1) does not require me to peel the cloves 2) can handle 3 cloves at once and 3) comes with a tool for cleaning those little holes.

I can see where your squash-and-chop technique is better that the way I minced garlic with a knife.

Any comment on the impact of pressing v mincing on the food?
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Re: Garlic: minced v pressed

by Robin Garr » Fri Feb 16, 2007 9:19 am

MikeH wrote:Any comment on the impact of pressing v mincing on the food?


I'd like to see that Zyliss, Mike. Sounds interesting.

My totally opinionated thinking is that mincing garlic is a quick enough chore that it doesn't really require a tool to take over. Rather than Bob's technique, I like to trim the ends and peel the skin (if you play it right, you can usually combine these techniques in one, popping off an end and then pulling the clove up and away from most of the skin), then make a series of quick slices lengthwise, turn it 90 degrees, another quick set of slices, and then whack whack whack, cut the twice-sliced clove into a pile of tiny, perfectly even mini-cubes. It sounds finicky and time-consuming, but with practice I'm sure it takes well under a minute, and I like the way that the tiny, even cubes brown and distribute themselves through the dish.

It seems to me that a press releases a lot more juice, which could be a good thing for flavor if you use it immediately, but I'd be concerned about it drying up and losing flavor if you had to set it aside for any length of time before using. If I could see a Zyliss in action, though, the way you describe it, I could be a convert.
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Re: Garlic: minced v pressed

by Bob Ross » Fri Feb 16, 2007 9:35 am

That Zyliss Jumbo looks pretty cool, Mike. Thanks.

$15 and another kitchen tool -- I dunno -- especially since Robin's technique looks easier than mine. With more quantity I sure would take a serious look.

On the quality side, although some cooks claim better taste with the knife cut garlic, I don't personally see much difference in the results.

Thanks.
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Re: Garlic: minced v pressed

by Jeff Yeast » Fri Feb 16, 2007 10:11 am

I used a cheap press when I got my first apartment and started cooking for myself. After a while the cleaning wasn't worth the convenience of the press. Of course your press is undoubtedly better than mine was. Usually I'm going to be using my chef's knife anyway, so it's one less gadget to store and clean, just a quick rinse after mincing and the knife is back in business.

BTW, back when the food network was about cooking, I remember seeing a technique in which, after peeling the clove, you sprinkle kosher salt on it and press and pull with the side of a knife until you have a garlic paste of sorts. The salt is actually doing most of the work. I think Bobby Flay started that but I think several were using it. I thought that was pretty clever at the time and "minced" all of my garlic that way for a while. But, it does make a little more of a mess and now I'm just mincing away the old-fashioned way.
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Re: Garlic: minced v pressed

by Martha Mc » Fri Feb 16, 2007 10:22 am

Bob Ross wrote:On the quality side, although some cooks claim better taste with the knife cut garlic, I don't personally see much difference in the results.



The chef at our favorite Italian restaurant says crushed/pressed garlic gets bitter. Since most people press the garlic over a hot pan, perhaps, since more juice is released it burns faster than it would if it were "contained" in the minced cubes. Anyway, I've quit using a garlic press mostly because it was just as easy to use the knife I had in hand rather than have to sort through the utensil drawer to find the press. (And of course, later having to clean it). Also, it is fun to try and get each and every single cube as small and even as possible
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Re: Garlic: minced v pressed

by Cynthia Wenslow » Fri Feb 16, 2007 10:37 am

I find it curious that some of you actually peel the garlic. If you just take the flat side of a chef's knife and whack the clove, the skin pops right off. Or is this what you mean?
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Re: Garlic: minced v pressed

by Robin Garr » Fri Feb 16, 2007 10:41 am

Cynthia Wenslow wrote:I find it curious that some of you actually peel the garlic. If you just take the flat side of a chef's knife and whack the clove, the skin pops right off. Or is this what you mean?


Depends on the use, Cynthia. If I'm just going to throw the whole smashed clove in, I do what you do. If I want to mince the garlic, though, I don't smash it but leave it in one undamaged piece for ease in going through the dicing process I mentioned above.
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Re: Garlic: minced v pressed

by Robin Garr » Fri Feb 16, 2007 10:41 am

Martha Mc wrote:Also, it is fun to try and get each and every single cube as small and even as possible


You're my kind of cook, Martha! :)
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Re: Garlic: minced v pressed

by Cynthia Wenslow » Fri Feb 16, 2007 10:44 am

Hmm. I've never had a problem dicing after whacking, but maybe I'm just a "more relaxed" cook. :wink:
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Re: Garlic: minced v pressed

by Jeff Yeast » Fri Feb 16, 2007 11:32 am

Cynthia Wenslow wrote:Hmm. I've never had a problem dicing after whacking, but maybe I'm just a "more relaxed" cook. :wink:


I'm with you Cynthia!
8)
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Re: Garlic: minced v pressed

by Mike Filigenzi » Fri Feb 16, 2007 1:23 pm

I'm with Mike on this one. I believe Cook's Illustrated did a "study" on the difference between minced and pressed and their subjects couldn't tell the difference. As much as I enjoy using knives and working on my knife technique, I have never been able to get good and fast with the garlic mincing. The press I have is like Mike's - it's easy to use and very easy to clean. I find I'm just a lot quicker pressing than mincing.


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Re: Garlic: minced v pressed

by MikeH » Fri Feb 16, 2007 2:06 pm

Robin Garr wrote:I'd like to see that Zyliss, Mike. Sounds interesting.

......

It seems to me that a press releases a lot more juice, which could be a good thing for flavor if you use it immediately, but I'd be concerned about it drying up and losing flavor if you had to set it aside for any length of time before using. If I could see a Zyliss in action, though, the way you describe it, I could be a convert.


http://www.zyliss.com Unfortunately, navigating thru their web site doesn't change the URL. But under Products>Press/Crackers>Press you will find the Jumbo and the Susi2.

Cooks Illustrated had the original Susi as the #1 garlic press. In the next generation, they much prefer the Jumbo to the Susi2.
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Re: Garlic: minced v pressed

by Gary Barlettano » Fri Feb 16, 2007 2:24 pm

In my experience, the smaller you make it, the more potent the garlic flavor.

I use all of the above listed methods and then a few depending on the desired result. If I want a garlic bomb, then I smash it in the skin and chop it up with a little salt. If I simply want to aromatize, then I use whole cloves and often leave them in the skins in soups and potages.

Pressing definitely gets you more garlic bang for your buck than mincing, but the smaller or thinner you cut it, the easier it is for it to burn if you're frying or sautéing it in oil.

OK, so I get the award for being the Master of the Obvious.
And now what?
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Re: Garlic: minced v pressed

by MikeH » Fri Feb 16, 2007 2:26 pm

Jeff Yeast wrote:BTW, back when the food network was about cooking, I remember seeing a technique in which, after peeling the clove, you sprinkle kosher salt on it and press and pull with the side of a knife until you have a garlic paste of sorts. The salt is actually doing most of the work. I think Bobby Flay started that but I think several were using it. I thought that was pretty clever at the time and "minced" all of my garlic that way for a while. But, it does make a little more of a mess and now I'm just mincing away the old-fashioned way.


I saw that technique at a recent cooking class. But my recollection is that the chef introduced that tip as a way to keep the garlic bits from sticking to the knife blade. Is my memory faulty?
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Re: Garlic: minced v pressed

by Randy Buckner » Fri Feb 16, 2007 3:24 pm

Never use anything but our Rosle garlic press -- does a great job and a snap to clean. No wasted time chopping here, Mike.
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Re: Garlic: minced v pressed

by Thomas » Fri Feb 16, 2007 3:41 pm

Being a tactile sort of cook, I like mincing over pressing--and I hate cleaning the press. I use the press when I want to smear garlic on something, and when I give a clove to the dog, who gets to eat garlic blended in the food instead of having to be wormed every so often.

As for peeling the paper off--never have to do much of that. I cut the fat end of the clove and the paper is easy to lift off. But that's garlic that I grow myself. The commercial kind does seem resistant to being peeled easily--sometimes the paper sticks to it. Hate when that happens.
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Re: Garlic: minced v pressed

by Jenise » Fri Feb 16, 2007 4:07 pm

Cynthia, we're sisters. Smashed with the flat side of a knife, the skin no longer fits and comes away easily. From there if I'm doing a volume or for a fresh prep like a salad dressing where I want the garlic to virtually disappear into dish, I use a press. My press folds back on itself and self-cleans--a quick rinse, and it's ready for next time. Otherwise I'm more likely to mince a single clove right where I smashed it, often with salt as Gary mentions to absorb the juices and get all the garlic flavor--once it's flat, it minces more easily and with less danger of cutting myself than it would in the unflattened raw state. After all, it can't roll any more.

I certainly don't buy the argument I've heard many chefs use about presses bruising the garlic. They just separate the oils from the flesh more immediately which is often a good thing--cooked, it's my observation that there's no difference whatsoever in flavor except that a pressed clove will deliver the garlic oomph faster than unpressed.
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Re: Garlic: minced v pressed

by Cynthia Wenslow » Mon Feb 26, 2007 10:09 am

Cooking Garlic? Crush It First
Heart-Healthy Garlic Benefits Preserved by Crushing Before Cooking

By Miranda Hitti
WebMD Medical News

Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Feb. 16, 2007 -- Got a recipe that involves cooking garlic? You might want to crush the garlic first.

That may be the best way to preserve the herb's healthy compounds during cooking, a new study shows.

Garlic contains compounds shown to help prevent blood clots. But most garlic studies have tested raw garlic, and cooking can damage those anticlotting compounds.

Crushing garlic may help prevent that damage, report the researchers, who include Claudio Galmarini, PhD, of the agricultural sciences faculty at Argentina's Universidad Nacional de Cuyo.

Galmarini's team found that garlic cooked three minutes in boiling water or in an oven at about 400 degrees Fahrenheit has the same amount of the anticlotting compounds as raw garlic.

But cooking uncrushed garlic for six minutes "completely suppressed" those compounds' anticlotting effects, the researchers write.

Galmarini's team then tried crushing the garlic by putting it through a garlic press before cooking.

That helped preserve the compounds, although they still lost much of their anticlotting effects after three to six minutes.

The study appears in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

SOURCES: Cavagnaro, P. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Feb. 21, 2007; vol 55: pp 1280-1288. News release, American Chemical Society.

© 2007 WebMD, Inc. All rights reserved.

Edited to add link
http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/news/ ... h-it-first
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Re: Garlic: minced v pressed

by ScottD » Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:05 pm

MikeH wrote:I have difficulty obeying a recipe that calls for minced garlic. To my way of thinking, why spend a lot of time cutting a clove into tiny little pieces (and stenchifying my hands in the process) when I can spend about zero time squashing it through a press and get pretty much the same impact.

Am I missing something here? Just plain lazy?


Mike, I was just going through a Martha Rose Shulman book yesterday in fact, Provencal Light; there was a sort of table of potency, if you will, for the various methods of garlic prep and relative pungency resulting... I can't remember the specifics exactly, but it's basically whole is less pungent than sliced which is less than minced, etc. I'll try to remember to grab it tonight and post it.

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