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Why You'll Never Find A Garlic Press In Ina Garten's Kitchen

ina garten smiling
ina garten smiling - Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

If you've watched Ina Garten's long-running cooking show, "Barefoot Contessa," you'll notice that she never uses a garlic press whenever mincing garlic. But this isn't just for TV — the celebrity chef doesn't even own a garlic press, nor does she care to ever buy one. While many home cooks find them useful, Ina Garten doesn't think they're worth having on hand.

In response to a fan question on her website asking if there was a cooking tool she considers "overrated," Garten explained that she isn't a fan of garlic presses primarily due to storage. "The fewer fancy gadgets you have, the more organized your kitchen will be."

In general, Garten doesn't seem to be a fan of any kitchen tools that only have one function, not just garlic presses. For example, you'll notice she is never shown using an apple corer or a lemon juicer in recipes that call for either fruit. So even though garlic presses allow you to easily mince garlic into uniform pieces, Garten clearly doesn't mind putting in the extra effort if it means less kitchen clutter.

Read more: 11 Of The Best Cooking Tips From Bobby Flay

How Ina Garten Minces Garlic Without A Garlic Press

garlic being minced with knife on white chopping board
garlic being minced with knife on white chopping board - HannaTor/Shutterstock

Whenever Ina Garten cooks with garlic, she goes about mincing it the old fashion way — with a knife. "It does the same thing perfectly well," she said of its effectiveness compared to a garlic press. But Garten doesn't use just any knife, she's partial to the Wüsthof Classic brand chef knife. Priced at over a hundred dollars, this knife is much more expensive than a garlic press, but it's also much more versatile. If she wants her garlic to have a more fine mince, Garten has also been known to use a zester.

But what about when she has to mince an extra large batch of garlic? Even with all the tedious hand chopping involved, Garten still would rather use a knife than a garlic press. She does, however, make the process a bit easier on herself by putting the garlic in boiling water for about 15 seconds, as she shared while making penne arrabiata in an episode of "Barefoot Contessa." This makes peeling the garlic easier, saving some time overall so it won't take quite as long to prep.

Why You Should Adopt Ina Garten's Approach

minced garlic on wooden spoon next to unpeeled cloves
minced garlic on wooden spoon next to unpeeled cloves - Tama2u/Shutterstock

As Ina Garten notes, opting for a knife over a garlic press would certainly clear up valuable drawer space. However, there's another reason you may want to avoid using one: it affects the flavor of the garlic and, ultimately, the flavor of your dish. Presses cause more damage to the cell walls of the garlic, and the more damaged they become, the more allicin (the compound responsible for garlic's aroma)  is released. As a result, not only does the garlic flavor become more overpowering, it also becomes more bitter.

Perhaps you're okay with the taste of strong, bitter garlic, but if you have a garlic press made of aluminum, which many of them are, your garlic may also take on a metallic flavor, because aluminum is reactive to acidic or alkaline food such as garlic. Since a knife can just as effectively mince garlic, you may want to just stick to preparing the pungent aromatic Ina Garten's way.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.