A quick trick for peeling garlic—and mincing it too

Consumer Reports News: December 19, 2011 01:23 PM

If you go through a lot of garlic, you know how annoying it can be peeling all those little cloves. A viral YouTube video, compliments of Saveur magazine, shows how to peel an entire head in ten seconds flat using two stainless steel bowls. But unless you like your garlic whole, you'll need to then do some chopping or mincing. That’s where Consumer Reports comes in, with our current Ratings of kitchen knives and soon-to-be-released review of kitchen gadgets.

Let's start with knives. In Consumer Reports' latest Ratings of 50 knife sets, we generally favored forged knives over those made from stamped metal for sharpness and precision—two qualities needed to efficiently mince tiny cloves. While a chef's knife is ideal for chopping onions and other large vegetables, the more compact handle and blade of a utility knife might be better suited to garlic. We always recommend trying knives in the store to make sure they sit comfortably in your hand.

While we only test knives by the set, you can often buy them individually, perhaps starting with a utility and chef's knife, before adding more specialized blades, such as a santoku knife, a cross between a chef’s knife and a cleaver that you might prefer for chopping.

For those who don't have the knife skills or patience to mince garlic with a knife, there's the garlic press. When we recently asked our Facebook fans which kitchen gadgets they rely on most, the garlic press was right up there with the peeler, can opener and cheese grater. Based on that feedback, we purchased more than 40 separate gadgets for testing, including several types of garlic press.

The final results will be published in the February 2012 issue of Consumer Reports (available to online subscribers in early January). But we can tell you that tried-and-true lever-style garlic pressed are getting high marks from our testers. Look for a model with a large garlic chamber that can handle multiple cloves as well as a cushioned, ergonomic grip, since powering through cloves can take some muscle.

And if you think you can get around mincing altogether by purchasing pre-minced garlic, check out our recent review of processed garlic products.

Daniel DiClerico

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