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Garlic Gadgets

Tuesday, 17 March 2009 | Tags: ,

A popular ingredient in savoury recipes, garlic cloves can be prepared in many ways, including slicing, mincing, pressing, and pulverizing. We try out some garlic gadgets to see if one does a better job than the rest.

The Basics

  • The more finely the garlic is chopped or crushed, the more its cell walls break down to release the sulfur compounds that contribute to its strong flavour:

    • For a less intense flavour, cut the garlic into small chunks.

    • For maximum flavour, press, crush, and pulverize the garlic so as to break as many cell walls and release as much flavour as possible.

  • Garlic gadgets should produce a consistent size of garlic pieces so that it’s easier to cook evenly, without burning small pieces and undercooking larger pieces.

  • Look for gadgets with very few crevices where bits of garlic might get stuck. These will be easiest to clean. Some also come with a a little cleaning tool to help get pieces out of the holes. For the ultimate convenience, look for gadgets that are dishwasher-safe.

  • The tool should be big enough to fit multiple cloves at a time (e.g. at least 2) and be strong enough to process unpeeled cloves without straining your hand or wrist.

  • The handle or grip should be comfortable, easy to hold and use, non-slip (e.g. with silicone handles), and preferably ergonomically-designed.

TEST CRITERIA

For a cook day filled with garlic (91 cloves to be exact), we recruited some martial arts practitioners from South Korea, a country that consumes an average of 22lbs of garlic per person each year. (In North America, we average only about 2lbs a year.) We tested:

  • Chef’n GarlicZoom garlic chopper: $11.98
.. Amazon.ca Amazon.com
  • Garlic Pro E-Zee Dice: $19.98
.. Amazon.ca Amazon.com
  • OXO Good Grips Mini Chopper: $15.98
.. Amazon.ca Amazon.com
  • Wusthof 8” Chef’s Knife: $199.98
.. Amazon.ca Amazon.com
(Note: prices listed above are approximate and in Canadian dollars)

Slice and Dice Test

  • The Wusthof knife was effective both for chopping, mincing, pressing, and pulverizing. However, you do get the juice all over your hands and the cutting surface.

  • The least favourite was the Chef’n chopper. It barely fit one clove and marked up the cutting board when you rolled it. It was also awkward to use, difficult to get the garlic out, and hard to clean. Plus we felt the design wasn’t very safe.

  • The Garlic Pro was easy to use, and accommodated several cloves of garlic at one time. The resulting chunks were a little big for use in salad dressings and the like, but would be good for sautéing. It kept the cook surface clean, and was fast and easy.

  • The OXO was a bit disappointing. It had too many extra parts to clean and potentially get lost, and it didn’t work as well as we expected.

OUR TOP PICK

As agreed by 75% of our testers, the Garlic Pro E-Zee Dice was the best gadget for garlic prep. The runner up was the chef’s knife, which many people have in the kitchen already. (Update: this test was done in 2008. The Garlic Pro E-Zee Dice no longer seems to be available.) 

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