Published March 1, 2012. From Cook's Illustrated.
Whether you want to chop, slice, crush, or grate garlic, there's a gadget for that.
Lately a whole world of gizmos has sprung up, promising to do everything from chop, mince, and slice to shred, grate, and crush garlic—and even remove its smell from your hands. We tested five new tools to see if any were worth adding to our arsenal. In the end, we didn’t find anything that we couldn’t live without, but we did love a mini mandoline that smoothly churned out perfect slices of garlic. Two of the gadgets were amusing and effective but hardly essential: a stainless steel soap bar with an impressive ability to neutralize garlic odor (any stainless steel surface will do the same) and a rolling garlic chopper that resembles a toy truck. The last two, a rocking garlic crusher and a plastic garlic grating card promising to get the job done without shredding your knuckles, were nice ideas but performed terribly.
Garlic Press Alternatives
The garlic “Rocker” by Joseph Joseph is a curved, perforated strip of stainless steel designed to crush garlic with a downward rocking motion, but it didn’t live up to its hype. Nearly half of each clove got stuck in the oversized, widely spaced holes, leaving us with a scant pile of hexagonal pellets and a clogged tool. The Chef’n GarlicZoom XL ($14.99) is a clear plastic ball that holds several peeled cloves. Its rubber wheels turn inner blades that cut the garlic as you roll the gadget back and forth on a countertop. We found it convenient for quickly chopping large quantities of garlic, but it gave a somewhat irregular mince. Its razor-sharp blades and numerous nooks and crannies made cleanup a pain.
Faster Than Knife Work
For quickly and evenly slicing garlic, the MIU Garlic and Truffle Slicer is hard to beat. This 8 1/2 by 2-inch mini mandoline features a plastic cup that holds a single clove firmly in place and protects your fingers as you slide it along the stainless steel slicing blade. It effortlessly reduced a whole clove into sleek, paper-thin coins, without leaving behind a wasteful nub. Although it’s a bit limited in its use (the grater side of the blade mangled cloves), at only $5 it’s worth having on hand for making fried garlic chips to top soups, salads, and side dishes.
Instead of a Rasp Grater
For grating garlic into a puree, the GarlicCard, a textured piece of plastic the size of a credit card, promises to get the job done without shredding your fingertips. It did work, but its small grating zone made it much slower than using our favorite rasp grater and its nubs trapped garlic so that we were left with a reduced yield and tedious cleanup.
Better Than Soap and Water
The Amco Rub-A-Way Bar is a block of stainless steel shaped like a bar of soap that claims to erase garlic smell from your hands. It worked like magic, with just a little cold tap water. Theories abound as to how it works—the most plausible being that the metal binds to garlic’s odorous sulfur compounds, removing them from your skin. We did get the same results from rubbing our hands on a steel bowl, but the soap bar shape was easier to use (and to clean).