Press It Out

As part of my ongoing quest to be a better cook, I recently purchased a garlic press, a little thing like this:

Garlic Press
Photo from Marc Pinter’s Flickr Stream – there are a shocking number of garlic press photos on Flickr!

I figured I’d experiment with using real garlic in my dishes instead of just garlic powder (or worse, nothing).

However, I totally can’t figure out how it works.

Here’s what I think I should be doing: remove a clove; cut the tips off both ends; peel away the paper-like coating; pop that sucker in the press; press.

When I try this, though, I get very little garlic coming through the press. Almost all of the clove is left behind inside, and although I am sure I am removing all the skin from the clove, there seems to be a flat bag-like layer that traps everything in there.

So all I’m left with is a really, really flat garlic clove.

Any tips out there?

14 thoughts on “Press It Out

  1. I tried a garlic press in the past but had similar experiences to you. I also noticed that on the cooking shows I watch, they never seem to use a garlic press. Now I just dice, chop or bash it in a mortar and pestle depending on what I’m doing. I also sometimes just buy garlic in jar that’s been diced already. The lazy man’s Garlic press.

  2. Yeah, garlic presses tend to be annoying things. I’ve had several over the years, and though they vary in terms of how well they work, all of them end up leaving the majority of the garlic in the press instead of squished out the holes.

    Sometimes what I do is squish the press down once, then use a knife to push the remaining garlic all off to one side, then squish down again (which usually gets more of the garlic coming out the holes), and then I end up scraping the remaining garlic back out using a knife.

    Or sometimes I just chop it up myself using a knife. I kind of hate it when my fingers smell of garlic afterward, but oh well–garlic is worth it.

  3. I admire your desire to avoid buying expensive, pre-packaged foods like minced/chopped garlic in a jar, but this might be one situation where life is just too short and the faster, more expensive option is worth it.

    However, if the press doesn’t work but you still want to use fresh garlic, you can squish the unwrapped clove with the back of a big, metal spoon.

  4. I’ve given up on garlic presses entirely. I either chop garlic with a big knife or just squash a couple of cloves, thrown them in and remove them before serving (or don’t bother if I’m scooping from a pan on the stove, just avoid serving them — or serve them to someone who’s pissed you off recently:)) And happy turtlehead birthday.

  5. I have a Pampered Chef garlic press and I use it all the time. Remove the papery cover, put in press – very easy.

    My mom used to have a different type of garlic press and it didn’t work nearly as well.

    I think the key with the one I have is that the part that does the pressing is big and sturdy (i.e. doesn’t move much side to side).

  6. garlic in a jar works for me. i hated the press, cleaning the press, peeling the garlic etc etc. i’m not enough of a foodie to notice a difference.

  7. I concur with all the comments that garlic presses generally don’t work. They always just squish out the juice and leave most of it behind. I hand chop my garlic and find it no more work than chopping anything else. If you don’t want to go that route, than the chopped and bottled garlic is probably the way to go.

  8. same goes here. the garlic press sucks. i’m a jared garlic person, and you can get local stuff, not the made in china stuff, for a reasonable price when you buy the giant jars. i use tons of garlic. can’t even imagine cooking without it. hope you figure it out.

    and HAPPY HAPPY!! hope it was a good day.

  9. Judith

    Hi Lynne. I think that maybe your garlic is too old and dry. It should be plump and juicy and it should go through the garlic press just fine.

  10. betsy mae

    Ummm happy birthday? Why are you talking about garlic presses today? Today is the actual day right? I hope you wrote this post yesterday and set it to ‘publish’ today so that you could be out celebrating!

    Anyway, I’m sorry you didn’t ask our opinion of the garlic press before you bought it. I too buy the garlic in the jar (mainly because I can’t eat that much of it since my last pregnancy (don’t ask…or do if you really want to know but I’m sure you can figure it out) so the jarred stuff can be kept in the fridge for a long time. The press is just another gadget that I don’t have space for and it’s something else I have to clean. I use my knife. Sorry!

  11. Shyla

    I don’t have a garlic press, but I will say Rachael Ray uses a microplane?

    I know, I can’t believe I watch Rachael Ray either, but I will say I now make homemade mac n’ cheese and chicken pot pie. I KNOW! Who knew that stuff could be made at home?

    Thanks for the tip on the garlic press, I will now save my money for the microplane grater/zester.

    BTW, happy belated birthday! I totally understand about the watching TV ALONE/being alone (and I only have ONE kid!).

  12. I don’t even cook and I love our garlic press! I got invited to a Pampered Chef party years and years ago and I always feel obligated to buy something at this sell-at-home-party affairs, so I asked hubby what to get. He said garlic press; I bought garlic press. He is a very fussy fellow and even he was impressed with its quality. And one thing I just learned lately is that I don’t even have to peel off the outer layer — just put the whole clove in, press and — voila — beautiful, delicious garlic! 🙂

Comments are closed.