A garlic press can be an incredibly useful kitchen tool, but many people only use it to crush garlic cloves and not much else. Don’t let this perfectly good kitchen item go to waste! This article discusses how to use the press for more than just smashing garlic, ranging from using it to cut vegetables, dressings, or even make croutons. Here are six ways you can use your garlic press in the kitchen today.

  • Mincing garlic cloves

One of my favorite ways to use a garlic press is when I’m mincing garlic cloves. Minced garlic helps season many types of dishes, so if you enjoy cooking or are trying to eat healthier, having a few recipes that incorporate minced garlic can be helpful. However, trying to mince multiple cloves of garlic by hand can be difficult. That’s where your trusty garlic press comes in handy; simply chop up your clove(s) and push them through the grates of your press for quick and easy minced garlic. It allows you to effortlessly crush and mince garlic cloves. It also removes bits of peel and pulp, making your job even easier. There are many different kinds of presses with different benefits, so it’s worth taking some time to think about what features you want most. For example, if you like cooking with fresh garlic frequently, it might be smart to look for a press that can clean up quickly and is dishwasher safe.

A clove of garlic in your hand can take 20-30 minutes, but when you use a garlic press, it only takes one second. Not only is mincing cloves in the press press faster than doing it by hand, but you’ll also likely end up with much more consistent results—and if your recipe calls for small pieces of garlic, there’s really no competition. If that weren’t enough, you’ll also be left with significantly less smell on your hands. 

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  • Pressing Garlics

Be sure not to peel your garlic first! If you press unpeeled garlic, it will smell terrible, and no one wants that. Also, you’ll lose out on some of those health benefits. Of course, if your recipe calls for peeled garlic, go ahead and remove it before pressing. You can also consider using a Microplate or fine grater instead. That said, if you have an electric press at home, there’s really no reason not to just use that instead—they’re basically foolproof! No matter which method you choose though, be sure that any garlic pieces are uniform in size so they cook evenly.

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  • Mashing Garlics

Picking out fresh garlic at your local grocer can be a difficult process. Not only are you looking for quality—you also want quantity. It’s quite easy to end up with either way too much or way too little of what you need. A better option is picking up a head of garlic that’s already been pre-chopped, but if you go down that route, you’ll have little use for your garlic press. When it comes time to cook, mashing whole cloves makes them easier to absorb—meaning more flavor gets transferred into your dish. 

You may have heard that crushing garlic releases its pungent compounds, called Alliin and Allicin. Those chemicals are believed to be responsible for garlic’s powerful medicinal properties. While crushing does help break down Alliin, it’s actually quite difficult for your body to access it. For better results, crush your garlic using a press. Once you put your crushed cloves through a press, you’ll get more Alliin out of them than if you’d just chopped or pressed them by hand. You can also make sure you’ve fully crushed your cloves by choosing a unit with stainless steel blades. With plastic ones, it’s much easier for pieces of garlic shell to make their way into your dish!

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  • Preparing Salsas

One great way to use your garlic press is for preparing salsa. After boiling your tomatoes, toss them in a bowl with some chopped cilantro and let them cool. Once they have cooled, put your garlic clove through a garlic press and mince it. Mix everything together in a bowl and add salt and pepper to taste.

A garlic press is an ideal choice when it comes to pulverizing whole garlic cloves for making salsas, hummus, or pesto. Plus, you’ll enjoy all of the flavor without worrying about getting smelly hands. For best results, chop your garlic in smaller pieces before placing it in your press so that more surface area is exposed—this way, more flavorful oils will be released during pressing.

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  • Chopping Herbs Finely

Herbs like parsley and mint can be tough to chop by hand. To avoid messy, uneven pieces, try using a garlic press; it’s super easy and quick. Simply place your herbs in between two layers of plastic and put them inside your garlic press (make sure they don’t stick out too far). Then, squeeze. Add all of your finely chopped herbs to your dish! Voilà! It’s so much easier than chopping by hand. If you have a lot of herbs on your countertop right now, give your press a try! You can mince parsley or cilantro in seconds rather than minutes. Just be sure not to overdo it—you don’t want mushy basil or rosemary! Here are 6 ways to use your garlic press for minced herbs in the kitchen.

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  • Making Pesto

You can probably think of a lot of ways to use your garlic press for cooking. Try making pesto! It’s quick and easy; all you need is some fresh basil, pine nuts (or walnuts), and onion (and, of course, your trusty garlic press). Just add everything into a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth. Toss in some frozen peas or sun-dried tomatoes for added flavor and color.

Combine 4 cups of basil leaves, 2 cloves of minced garlic, 1/2 cup pine nuts, 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese and 1/2 cup olive oil in a food processor and puree. Slowly add 1-2 tablespoons of water as needed until desired consistency is reached. (Hint: don’t worry about adding too much water; excess pesto can be used as a marinade for meat.) Use within 10 days.

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