A Myriad of Garlic Gadgets
Thanks to garlic’s wide appeal in culinary endeavors, many garlic gadgets have been designed to help prepare garlic for its many uses. There are shredders, slicers, crackers, peelers, cutters, presses, and more.
Purists will still lean towards using a knife to peel, slice, or mince garlic (see Smashing Garlic) however, those who are not adept at using a knife or who want more convenience will opt for the various garlic gadgets available.
Many chefs will smash a clove of garlic with the side of a knife and then pick off the skin. But the introduction of a long rubber tube has helped make the task even easier, while simultaneously keeping the clove intact. Simply place the unpeeled clove inside the tube, apply slight pressure, and roll. The skin will separate from the garlic, leaving the clove whole and your hands free from garlic odor.
One of the most popular garlic gadgets is the garlic press, although some feel this vice-like press produces a stronger flavor that may overpower a dish as opposed to more traditional methods, such as mincing or slicing. The press crushes the garlic into small pieces and helps release the flavor by exposing a greater surface area of the garlic clove. Consider a press that has a comfortable grip and is of sturdy construction since the garlic will be forced through the press’s perforated face when the two handles are squeezed together. The ‘hopper’ should be large enough to press a minimum of two cloves. A nonstick surface is helpful, especially when pressing unpeeled cloves and will also make the press easier to clean. Also important when cleaning is a set of reverse pins that aid in the removal of the residue from the holes.
An alternative to the press is the garlic slide. Made of vitrified porcelain, the garlic slide pushes the garlic along the top of the porcelain piece that has ridges on it. The ridges effectively mince and crush the peeled garlic into small pieces.
Garlic slicers come in various styles, each of which claims to create paper-thin slices of garlic. Basically, these garlic slicers are mini-versions of graters. In fact, there are combination gadgets that both shred and slice. These mini-slicers incorporate a shredder on one side, while the other side slices. The slicer provides consistently thin slices.
Also garlic slicers are available that work somewhat like a pepper mill. The peeled garlic is placed inside a tube or a container after which a crank is turned that pushes the garlic to the container’s bottom and through a set of slicers to mince the garlic. In some of these slicers, the unused garlic can be stored inside the tube until the next use. Also handy is a small two-piece container whose interior has mini-blades. The user places the garlic inside and twists until the desired texture is reached. The garlic slicer is a good choice for customers who use a lot of garlic as it saves prep time.
These small terracotta pots with lids are ideal if you love roasted garlic for use in a variety of recipes from soups to potatoes, or to spread on bread. Garlic roasters’ sizes prevent their fitting into drawers and therefore, they require a counter or shelf position.
Garlic should be stored at a cool temperature — not in the refrigerator — and out of direct sunlight. It can be kept in a small container in an easily accessible place, such as in a small bowl, but for those who like to keep their garlic out of sight, there are garlic keepers in a variety of styles whose holes keep air circulating around the garlic.
Lee Kindness / CC BY-SA (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)