The Best Garlic Press For Our Kitchen
Few kitchen tools are as controversial as the garlic press. Not only is it a one-use device that takes up space in a home cook’s kitchen, there are those who question whether it’s actually the best way to mince garlic, and whether that convenience comes at a cost to flavor.
We think that most home cooks will enjoy using our favorite garlic press, the Zyliss Susi 3. It’s the best way we’ve found to mince garlic quickly and easily, and it comes with a convenient helper tool that makes cleanup a breeze.
A Note About Garlic Flavor
The taste of garlic is affected by the technique used to mince it. The more finely you chop garlic, the stronger the flavor. Theoretically, using a press makes the flavor of garlic stronger, but we think it’s likely that most home cooks won’t notice the difference, and a good press makes up for this with convenience and time savings. Besides, if you want to reduce the garlicky flavor, you can just use a bit less.
Garlic Mincing Options
There are several ways to mince garlic. When we’re making a paste, such as for a Thai recipe, we might crush garlic in a mortar and pestle, but the result is definitely more of a puree than a mince. We’ve had very little success with electric or manual chopping devices, so we’re not considering those options either.
Option #1: Chop It Up With a Knife
The option most used by professional chefs, this is a perfectly good method, if you’re willing to master the technique, take the necessary time, and deal with the cleanup of your knife, your cutting board, and your fingers! To be honest, we’ve never even solved the problem of having the tiny pieces of garlic stick to the side of our knife.
Option #2: Microplane Grating
There are 5 things we dislike about using a microplane for garlic:
1. Unlike with a garlic press, you need to peel the cloves before grating them with a microplane.
2. Since your fingers get up close and personal with the peeled cloves, they really stink after you’re done.
3. The tips of your fingers get pretty close to the teeth of the microplane as you grate the last part of a garlic clove. If you want to avoid danger, you can only comfortably grate about half of an average clove.
4. The texture of garlic grated with a microplane is mushy.
5. The above-mentioned mush has an extremely harsh garlicky taste. Compared to garlic chopped with a knife or squeezed through a press, it really burns.
Option #3: Use a Garlic Press
We like the standard garlic press design: a metal basket with holes in it, and a lever with a plunger that pushes cloves through the holes. We think the average home cook has an easier time mincing garlic with a garlic press than with a knife or a microplane.
Why You Need It
Drop one or more cloves into the hopper, and squeeze over your food. We like to scrape the minced garlic off with a paring knife, but you can even using the plastic cleaning tool that comes with the Zyliss Susi 3.
It only takes seconds to mince as many cloves of garlic as you need.
No Garlic Smell
Since you never handle the minced garlic directly with your hands, your fingers won’t smell of garlic when you’re done.
Why The Zyliss Susi 3 Is Great
Ease if Use
There’s no need to peel the garlic gloves before dropping them in the hopper. In fact, it’s better not to, as the leftover skin is more easily removed if you don’t peel the cloves beforehand. It’s also easy to use the Zyliss Susi 3 with one hand.
This feature really sets the Zyliss apart, as cleaning issues are a common complaint about garlic presses. The Susi 3 comes with a tool that removes all the garlic bits from the holes. It’s dishwasher safe too, and although the manufacturer recommends hand-washing, we’ve always put ours in the machine.
Lightweight (But Still Sturdy)
What's Not To Like
Holes Getting Jammed Up
We sometimes cut off the woody root end of garlic cloves (but not the rest of the skin) before placing them in the hopper. That part is more prone to getting stuck in the holes. We also suggest removing the skin(s) from the hopper between additions of more cloves. Make sure all the bits are removed from the holes before putting the press in your dishwasher.
Also Worth Knowing
- Garlic flavor quickly becomes overpowering once you cut into it. Don’t chop garlic too far in advance. It’s best to wait until the last minute, which is easiest to do if you are using a garlic press.
Did You Know?
Karl Zyssett created his first garlic press in 1948. It quickly became a sensation, and led to his founding of Zyliss in Lyss, Switzerland in 1951. All Zyliss products come with a 5-year guarantee.
The late Anthony Bourdain, who was definitely not an average home cook, hated garlic presses. In his memoir, Kitchen Confidential, Bourdain wrote: “Old garlic, burnt garlic, garlic cut too long ago and garlic that has been tragically smashed through one of those abominations, the garlic press, are all disgusting. Please treat your garlic with respect. Sliver it for pasta, like you saw in Goodfellas; don’t burn it. Smash it, with the flat of your knife blade if you like, but don’t put it through a press. I don’t know what that junk is that squeezes out the end of those things, but it ain’t garlic.”