Out of all the different vegetables that people will add to their food, there is nothing that is more popular to add than garlic. Garlic has been a beloved flavor in foods for hundreds of years, and without garlic, the overall flavor profile of many foods would be vastly different. Over the course of hundreds of years, people have learned some of the best ways to work with garlic and the cloves of it that people will add to their meals.
For example, there is actually a difference between slicing, crushing, and mincing garlic. Of course, these are all ways to break down a whole garlic clove so that you can add the garlic flavoring to your entire recipe, but the nature of these preparations may not be what you think it is.
Slicing, crushing, and mincing garlic will all have different effects on the taste. This means that if a recipe calls for sliced garlic and you choose to crush it instead, you are going to end up with a vastly different taste in your meal.
If you have ever wondered what exactly is the difference between crushed garlic and all the other forms of garlic out there, then the first thing that you should do is learn a little bit about the nature of the garlic itself. Crushing garlic, to put things simply, is a different way for you to extract as much garlic oil as possible from the garlic clove, intensifying the flavor of the garlic you add.
What Makes Crushing Garlic Different?
Garlic has evolved over time to have a strong smell that would keep animals from eating the plant. Interestingly enough, people realized this and also realized that the sharp smell and flavor would be favorable on food, leading to the common ingredient that most dishes include today.
Even so, eating a raw clove of garlic is often too strong for most people to handle. This means that people are going to come up with another way to extract the flavor from the clove without having to overwhelm their taste buds.
This is where crushing garlic comes in. To understand what separates crushing from slicing up garlic, you first need to understand where the garlic’s flavor comes from. As a part of this defense to keep animals away, garlic keeps most of its oil and flavor as sulfur compounds in the “meat” of the garlic.
Whenever you process garlic to add it to a meal, regardless of if you choose to cut, crush, or mince it, these sulfur compounds break down and expose the inside of the garlic to oxygen. The oxygen interacting with the compounds is what gives garlic its notable flavor.
With that being said, this means that the more surface area that is exposed to the air, the more compounds will be “activated” to have their garlic flavor. Much in the same sense that ground beef has much more exposed surface area than a steak would, when you crush garlic, you expose more of the compounds to the air around it. This produces a more intense garlic flavor, allowing you to flavor your dishes as much as you need to without purchasing much more garlic than you would need.
By crushing the garlic and exposing as much of the compounds as you can, you can enhance the flavor of your dish considerably, leaving you with a delicious ingredient to add to your favorite foods. The more you crush the garlic and the more finely it is chopped, the more oils you get out of it.
This is the largest difference between the types of preparation for your garlic. Keep in mind that a whole garlic that has not had the compounds exposed to air yet will have a milder and slightly sweet flavor to it compared to the strong whiff of garlic that crushed garlic comes from.
Crushing garlic is going to be the perfect choice if you want a stronger garlic flavor than a whole garlic clove would offer, but you aren’t quite in the mood for so much garlic flavor that you would use roughly sliced garlic.
How Do You Crush Garlic?
Now that you have a better idea of how you should go about preparing your garlic to get the flavor that you want, you should begin to think about how you are going to crush garlic to get the most flavor out of it that you can. It should go without saying that the most efficient tool to crush garlic is going to be a garlic press, as these are specifically designed to crush the garlic for you.
You can also consider using a grater to get the job done. Graters will break down those compounds and allow the garlic oil to spill out of the garlic clove. Just remember that the more garlic oil that you are using in your recipe, the sharper the flavor is going to be.
Another option that you could consider would be using a food processor on a pulsing setting to carefully and roughly chop your garlic up. Do keep in mind that, unless you know what the flavor is going to be, this can have an extremely overwhelming garlic flavor to it so you should be careful when trying something mixed with this much garlic oil.
With food processors, you are also going to need more than one clove of garlic to get the job done. If you only have one, there’s a chance it could just rattle around in the food processing bowl and not actually become processed. These are just a handful of things that you need to keep in mind when you are getting ready to make yourself a garlic-packed meal.
With the right tools in your hand, you can make sure that no matter where you are or what you have to eat, you can make use out of garlic and a garlic presser. Before you know it, you will be able to mince, crush, and cut your food and add as much garlic as you possibly need, without having to worry as much about the price of anything.