I wrote an article about garlic presses and since that time four years ago, the market segment has changed immensely. It is now packed with new companies, styles and interpretations of what a garlic press can be. I have written about other products that can be used to mince and chop garlic, but these latest garlic specific offerings are the result of people rethinking the tool.
As I stated in the original article, I am still of the mind that the easiest and best way to chop garlic is using a knife, but I see the usefulness of garlic presses and do use them myself.
As part of a SWAG bag from a press event, I received a garlic mincer from Leifheit. Long time readers know me to be as picky as Life Cereal’s Mikey, especially if upon first glance I think a tool is gimmicky. And to be completely honest, that was the first impression I had of Leifheit’s Garlic King.
It looks like a tool you might see some street tough carrying around to pummel people with and I had an image of garlic flying out from under the press as you punched downward on the cutting board.
In fact the Garlic King is not as brutish as I pictured. The garlic press plate has holes, is made of good quality stainless steel and is secured in a thick plastic handle with stainless steel accent sides. The inside of the press is wide enough to fit a man’s hand – mine is 4 3/4″ wide – but can easily accommodate those with larger hands if one inserts enough fingers to exert control, which is probably the better method anyway.
You begin as you would with any garlic press; remove the skin from the clove and if desired, the root end. Place the clove as flat as possible on the cutting board or counter. As there are no sharp edges like on a knife, you can press anywhere there is a clean, secure surface. Place the press on top of the garlic clove and push down to force the clove through the holes into the inner portion of the tool. The garlic “heart” will be pushed through leaving any tough outer portions on the bottom.
If you are going to mince more than one clove, it is best to do them one at a time. The minced garlic collects inside the Garlic King. As the whole process takes a couple of seconds to execute, you are able to mince several cloves quickly. You can rock the tool back and forth while pressing down to maximize the mince. The curved design makes this easy to do and really does extract the most garlic from each clove.
To remove the garlic from inside the press, simply swipe along the edge and push it into the pan or bowl you are using. I used a mini-spatula from Le Creuset to get the cleanest swipe without making my fingers smell garlicky. As you can see in the photo below, the design keeps the unwanted tougher portions on the bottom.
Clean up is very easy as there are no hinges or moving parts to worry about. You can either put it in the dishwasher or hand wash it. The stainless steel press plate ensures there will be no lingering garlic smells.
The only real short coming of the Garlic King is one that is common to all garlic mincing tools: you can only mince with it. If you want a larger or coarse dice, slices or julienne cuts, you will have to use a knife. And thinking about it, I can see that the width of the blade could make it hard to find room to store it in a crowded kitchen drawer. However, the looped design would allow you to store it on a hook which is not possible with most garlic mincing tools.
I can see this tool being useful for those with arthritis or grip issues as you use your arm and/or body weight to push the garlic through and not the strength of your hand.
It comes with a 5 year warranty but the solid construction and lack of moving parts means it will last for years beyond.
As for the cost, I was intrigued to discover that the Garlic King is actually cheaper from the Leifheit web site than it is on Amazon.com. Leifheit sells it for $15 and on Amazon.com it goes for $18.95.
I still chop garlic with a knife, but now when I need to mince garlic that I forgot to prep, I can use this Garlic King to quickly get the job done.
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