The quick answer is that the difference between mincing and pressed garlic cloves is negligible.
The long answer: The enzyme alliinase is found in garlic, as well as onion, shallot, and leek. The more cell walls are sliced, chopped, pressed garlic, crushed, or otherwise ruptured, the more alliinase is produced. Alliinase is an enzyme that transforms alliin, a sulfur-containing chemical molecule, to allicin. Garlic’s intense fragrance comes from allicin. When you cut an onion, a similar process occurs.
Because numerous cell walls are damaged to release the alliinase enzymes, pressing is practically the same as mincing.
This is unlikely to make much of a difference in recipes that utilize a little amount of garlic, such as a single clove, especially if there are other strong flavors present or if the food is cooked for a long time. In recipes that call for a lot of garlic, however, how the garlic is prepared will have a considerable impact on the final dish. The strongest taste comes from mincing or pounding the garlic to a paste; the medium flavor comes from slicing or roughly chopping; and the subtle, sweet flavor comes from utilizing whole or gently crushed peeled cloves.
Pressed Garlic or Not
I’ve owned a garlic press for a long time, but I rarely use it for some reason. I started to wonder why I don’t use it more after dusting it out and squeezing a clove through it in about 10 seconds the other day.
We rarely use a garlic press in the test kitchen, presumably because none of our contributors do. Most of our recipes call for minced garlic rather than pressed garlic.
The dispute over whether garlic presses are healthy for garlic adds to my indecision. According to some, the press produces a greater garlic flavor since it totally breaks down the cloves, releasing more garlic flavor and making a fine purée that blends in better with other components. However, many chefs avoid using the press since it results in a poor garlic flavor.
I created garlic bread by splitting a clove in half, pressing one half, and mincing the other by hand, hoping to taste the difference for myself. I combined the garlic with equal parts butter and salt, then put it on crusty bread and baked it till golden brown.
The results were ambiguous to say the least. Two of the four people who tried it thought the pressed garlic bread was more powerful and pungent than the minced garlic bread. The other two, on the other hand, had the exact opposite reaction. Maybe I didn’t completely incorporate the garlic into the butter, or I spread it on unevenly. Who knows what will happen. This experiment has taught me that the difference is insignificant. I don’t think you’d notice the garlic in a dish where it’s not the star.
So, will I make more use of my best garlic press? Most likely, but old habits die hard. I’m used to mincing garlic, and while the press speeds up the process, it’s a headache to clean.
Difference Between Minced Garlic and Garlic Paste?
Garlic that has been coarsely chopped is known as minced garlic. On the other hand, garlic paste is more akin to garlic mush. This flavorful paste is available in jars and little tubes, but it’s also extremely simple to create at home.
Begin by mincing your garlic, then seasoning it with salt (the salt draws out moisture and acts as an abrasive to help break down the garlic). Place your knife’s blunt side over the pile of salted garlic, then angle your blade to mash the garlic into a paste. Alternatively, you can make a deliciously pungent paste using garlic cloves and salt in a mortar and pestle.
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