The best garlic gadgets

Updated on 26 January 2011 | 0 Comments

Finely chopping garlic can really slow you down when you're cooking in a rush. There are lots of garlic chopping gadgets around to do it for you, but do any of them really work? I find out.

So it turns out that Jamie's 30-Minute Meals take only 30 minutes as long as you’ve got the right equipment. Under the tight schedule there’s no time for finely dicing onions or meticulously slicing carrots.

And there’s certainly no time for mincing garlic. Jamie recommends crushing the garlic, but there are lots of other gadgets on the market to help you mince the garlic in minutes. The problem is they don’t all work.

I went on the search for a garlic-mincing gadget that actually makes cooking life easier.

1)      Crush it – garlic crusher

It’s the original, but not necessarily the best. Garlic crushers get the job done quickly, and don’t take much effort. But they are notorious for leaving a good proportion of the garlic behind in the crusher.

I used a retro crusher – similar to this one – and found it pushed around half of the clove through the tiny holes and left the skin inside the chamber.

The garlic that does come through is nicely pulped with no need to chop further. But it’s fiddly to scrape out the remainder of the clove and even if you try to crush it again, you don’t get much more out. The leftover garlic also makes the garlic crusher a real pain to clean.

Newer models have more clout making it less effort to crush bigger cloves. Some also have a reversible hinge to push out any excess garlic so you can crush again without fishing around inside the crusher with a knife.

However even with a souped-up model, you’re losing about ¼ of the clove every time.

2)      Chop it - Chef ‘n’ Garlic Zoom

Next up, the garlic chopper. I used a nifty little gadget called a Chef'n Garlic Zoom. It’s a plastic pod on wheels with three blades inside that rotate when you push the chopper along a flat surface. Pop a garlic clove into the plastic pod, shut it up and then zoom it along a surface for chopped garlic at the double.

It sounds good, but the results are disappointing. There isn’t a lot of space in the pod, so a big clove is difficult to start chopping (you need to use quite a lot of force). Once you get the chopper going, it actually takes quite a long time to get the garlic chopped anywhere close to finely, and after about 3 minutes you’ve still got quite big chunks.

It’s also difficult to get the garlic out of it once you have chopped it. The blade is treacherous, but even once you remove it (you can take the whole thing out for washing) it’s fiddly to scrape the garlic out of the nooks and crannies inside.

3)      Grind it – Garlic Twist

The Garlic Twist grinds the garlic cloves between two sets of intersecting plastic blades. When slotted together, the two bits look like a cog, and you twist them to grind the garlic cloves inside into a pulp.

The ridges on the outside make it very easy to turn, even if it’s got several cloves in it at once, but you do have to turn it back and forth a good few times to get rid of the big lumps of garlic.

The most fiddly bit is doing a bit of flash twisting to gather together the pulped garlic so it’s easier to scoop out in one go – but it’s worth it.

Not only is the garlic lump-free, but you get all of it out and it only needs a quick rinse, or pop it in the dishwasher, to clean it out. Easy peasy. And it does chillies and ginger too, perfect for dishes like Rich Red Quail Curry.

As gadgets go, garlic mincers are far from perfect. However the Garlic Twist is the least fiddly, produces nicely pulped garlic and is easy to clean. Plus it will genuinely save you time so you’ll be able to whip up great recipes like Fay Ripley’s Sweet Marinated Pork or Cowdray Butchery’s Slow Roast Shoulder of Lamb without checking your chopping time. Not to mention, of course, Jamie’s Rib-eye stir-fry in 30 minutes. 

In other words, you’ll be able to keep up with Jamie... at least when it comes to garlic. 

Also worth your attention:

Recipe - Chilled almond and garlic soup

Recipe - Moules Marinières

Journal - The Medicinal Magic of Ginger


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