One of the most useful gadgets in my kitchen is my garlic press. It’s indispensable when it comes to making guacamole, in my opinion, and there’s just no getting the same results with a knife. Yes, you can always smash a clove with the flat of the blade, then mince. But, it won’t do the same job as thoroughly, and it takes a lot longer in the process.
I went through several of these, and was moderately pleased with them, thinking this was the best there was. These are the kind that usually come with some sort of cleaner, which is really just a separate plastic piece with nubs on one end that can be stuck into the holes in the press to push out the garlic that inevitably gets stuck there. It wasn’t the easiest to clean and, if I wasn’t careful, the little plastic cleaner was easily misplaced. After only a few years, even with the most meticulous of care, the press would break. The last one lost the entire face plate where the garlic expresses.
After that, I decided I needed to spend a little more to get something a little better made, and perhaps a little easier to use. On one shopping trip to Whole Foods, I asked someone if they had a garlic press and the woman helping me led me to a couple of them. She picked up a “Turn-it” press and exclaimed that she just loved it. It’s a clear cylindrical gadget with a screw-press that you twist like a cork screw. It pressed out the garlic at the bottom, and any cloves left in the cylinder can be stored there for later. Just pop the whole thing into the refrigerator and when you want some more pressed garlic, you already have some peeled and ready to go! Sounds great! She talked me into it and I bought it.
In theory, it’s a great little gadget! In practice, however, it leaves a lot to be desired, in my opinion. It does fit many cloves in the cylinder, and you can pop the whole thing in the refrigerator when you’ve pressed what you wanted, but the cloves don’t store well. After only a few hours, the whole thing (gadget and extra cloves of stored garlic) develops an unpleasant funk that just isn’t appealing. I ended up throwing away (composting, to be precise) more cloves of garlic than I used, including from the cloves I pressed, as a great mess of garlic flesh was unable to make it through the holes no matter how much I twisted the press. In addition, it was a pain to clean and the funky old garlic smell never really went away no matter how much I soaked and scrubbed.
One day, I just happened to catch a bit of America’s Test Kitchen on the telly, a show that really puts kitchen tools and gadgets to the test. In this particular episode, they were testing garlic presses. It definitely caught my attention, because I had been having so much trouble with them. They tested several, including those I had used and been unhappy with, and then one I had never seen - a dandy of a little gizmo called a Kuhn Rikon Epicurean Garlic Press. The name certainly sounded ooh-la-la.
After some back and forth with myself about spending what I considered a hefty fee for a little gadget, I finally broke down and purchased the Kuhn Rikon Epicurean Garlic Press. Oh, how I love this tool! It’s not only gorgeous (if you agree that kitchen gadgets can be beautiful, you’re a kindred spirit!), feels great in my hands, and works like a dream, but it also cleans up easier than any garlic press I’ve ever used. (No little plastic gadget to poke into the holes and lose later, either!)
When I consider how many garlic presses I’ve been through, the price of each of them put together easily exceed that of this gem. And, while one can usually find a bargain when it comes to most kitchen tools, in the case of garlic presses, you definitely get what you pay for. The Kuhn Rikon Epicurean Garlic Press is worth every penny.