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What type of a grarlic press would require the minimum amout of force to operate? (for people with hand problems)

Would this one where the pressing part is pivoted require less force than one with a fixed pressing part?

Any other designs which requires less force?

(one could extend the handles attaching something to them to get more leverage obviously)

  • 2
    Can the type of person you describe use a chef knife? – moscafj Dec 10 '18 at 13:41
  • I'm surprised there is no electric garlic presses available ? – Max Dec 10 '18 at 14:44
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    Note for answerers: consider the ease by which the tool in question can be cleaned as well as its operation. If you have to use a pick to get out stuck bits of garlic, that is just as aggravating as the force needed to crush the cloves in the first place. – Draco18s Dec 10 '18 at 17:31
  • 1
    Since this question is getting quite a lot of attention, I would like to ask everybody to first look if their solution is already posted, before writing a new answer of their own. Also, alternative sollutions (like frozen garlic and the like) seem to fare well, so please post these as answers, not as comments. – rumtscho Dec 11 '18 at 14:37
  • A little blender garlic + salt, should be enought to produce garlic paste. With no effort. – Drag and Drop Dec 11 '18 at 14:48

12 Answers 12

21

Not really an answer to your question, but a possible alternative - why not frozen garlic?

I use a lot of fresh, but there are 2 different sorts of frozen I use too - one is Indian in origin & comes as a bag of 'cubes' of frozen paste. It loses some of the punch of fresh, but you can simply add more if required.
UK pricing maybe £1.10 for 500g.

The other type is 'european' & is finely chopped & loose in a bag. This is more expensive but still retains the full flavour & aroma.
It doesn't cook down quite as well as the cubes. Even though the aroma is better for a short cook, if I'm doing a long cook where the garlic should 'vanish' I will use the cube-paste instead.
UK pricing closer to £1.50 for 100g.

Either is close enough that no-one could tell once it's cooked into a dish.
Effort required == zero in both cases.

I found a fairly random supermarket link with both alternatives - Tesco UK

Re comments on the question...
Both of these are significantly closer to fresh than anything you can buy in a jar.

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    Thanks for the idea, will see if I can find it in local gorceries. – axk Dec 10 '18 at 15:25
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    Agreed on the frozen being closer to fresh than jars (often with vinegar). There's also puree with oil and salt. Very convenient if you just want a little, but fresh or frozen wins if you want a bit more – Chris H Dec 10 '18 at 17:27
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    I have no issue with strength or dexterity in my hands and still quite often found it very difficult to crush garlic with a crusher (and broke more than a few). Having been required to crush a lot of garlic over the years I can confirm that the frozen stuff is far superior to any jar, tin or paste and much easier than a crusher. I'd even say that in many cases (as is often the case with frozen veg) the quality of frozen garlic may even be better than fresh. – adaliabooks Dec 10 '18 at 17:31
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    I vouch for the frozen garlic (and ginger). I tastes much less adulterated than other preservation methods, and where i'm from, it's much cheaper than fresh bulbs, too. – Robin Betts Dec 11 '18 at 16:37
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    @RedSonja - does that not contain some kind of oil/vinegar/preservative, like the ones in jars - which kills the taste? – Tetsujin Dec 12 '18 at 7:27
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The extra pivot does nothing to ease the hand force required. Coarsely chopping first can help, but not by a huge amount.

I've seen (never used) something that should help a lot: a screw garlic press, either cheap or a bit more expensive (links are to arbitrary examples on eBay and Amazon). You'd want to make sure that the hand that's holding it (as opposed to the one turning the screw) has something to get hold of.

Another tool I have used is a mandolin grater (one side slices, the other grates). Mine did a good job of finely grating garlic, but did tend to waste a ragged slice of every clove.

The problem with extending the handles is that it becomes a two-handed operation because they start too far apart for one hand to close round both handles. You may also find the weak point in the press, as at this stage you're using arm muscles rather than hand muscles (I've snapped a metal garlic press using two hands).

  • I've seen the twist type while googling, thought it might be hard on the wrist that turns the screw. Need to try it I guess. – axk Dec 10 '18 at 14:29
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    If the user suffers from arthritis, for example, the screw type may be easier, but it could be very personal. The finer screw pitch in the more expensive one would give more mechanical advantage. I've just edited with an alternative idea as well – Chris H Dec 10 '18 at 14:31
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    @axk : there's a trick to opening jars and other situations where you're twisting something. You keep your wrists locked, and flex your elbows. You're using stronger muscles w/ a better mechanical advantage, but the object also moves towards/away from your body so it might not be best for this task – Joe Dec 11 '18 at 12:25
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A microplane does an excellent job with garlic and might make a good substitute for a garlic press. Whether it's easier or not would depend on the nature of the hand injury, but microplanes use arm motion rather than squeezing.

6

Does it have to be a press? Can the people with hand problems grip a hammer? Use a meat tenderizer and smash the garlic. It doesn't take too much strength to hold onto the handle and swing. You can even change the handle to suit the individual's need.

Hammer

4

For most applications, I can usually get away with using a miniature food processor, similar to this. As it's electric, no force is required.

It usually helps if you can chop it with some other ingredients or a quantity of oil/water, as small volumes of garlic can lead to inconsistent chopping.

4

I cannot give a first hand review of this device, so do not promise it is more than a gimmick, but there is a product called a "Garlic Zoom" and some other names such by companies such as chef'n. Not endorsing one name or company, only giving that one because it can be used for a generic search. The basic design it a series of rotating blades in a chamber. You put in the garlic clove, close it and then roll it on wheels across the counter. Blades are gear attached to the wheels and move back and forth to chop the garlic. Worth a look.

PS. There seems to be a number of Youtube videos out there of these in action. I am not overly fond of single application items, but this may be usable for some other fresh herbs as well and is relatively small so would not waste a lot of space. No more than the press it replaces would.

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    I had one - complete & utter waste of time. Doesn't chop anywhere near finely enough; random sizing & worst of all, takes more effort to clean than any time/effort saved in the preparation. Avoid. [That doesn't mean I'm going to downvote your answer; the answer itself is worth a vote... it's just the product that isn't ;) – Tetsujin Dec 10 '18 at 17:27
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    @Tetsujin Thanks for first hand, and I did question it but as I have seen them before, threw it out there as an option. I tend to feel the somewhat the same RE presses themselves, hard to clean, waste much of the product, etc. but others swear by them. My arthritis has not advanced to point of looking away from knives, but is far enough along that I watch for things that may help in future. Having words to avoid is good feedback to those looking for ideas. – dlb Dec 10 '18 at 17:35
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There is also freeze dried garlic that is pre-minced. This is an interesting option as you don't need to refrigerate it and it works very much like fresh garlic. But, it is not quite as potent and a bit expensive.

Another alternative is a garlic press that you rock instead of squeeze. I disliked the cleaning process on the normal squeeze press (hard to get into those corners inside the press), so I bought one and really like it. Super easy to clean and came with a peeler that you roll. I would think this would not aggravate hand pain related to squeezing and you can use two hands and your body weight/arm strength. enter image description here

4

OXO brand tools

The OXO company specializes in tools made easy-to-handle and easy-to-use.

Their clever designs make their products pleasant to use both by people with or without limitations in their manual dexterity. And the products manage to be elegant and attractive in appearance while also being useful.

They offer a range of garlic and herb tools.

Any other designs which requires less force?

I can personally vouch for their Garlic Press which is as easy to clean as it is to press.


(source: oxo.com)

They also offer a Garlic Slicer that I’ve not yet tried.

3

There are a couple of options besides garlic presses. I rarely use mine anymore.
1. Use the flat of the knife to crush it really well, then chop.
2. Depending on the recipe, saute it whole then it crushes extremely easily with a fork.

  • 1
    Crushing with the flat of the knife is really useful: instead of using hand muscles, one can lock one's elbow and put one's body weight onto the knife. That's the technique I use. – Galastel Dec 11 '18 at 12:28
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    @Galastel My dad broke a knife that way. It was his favourite one, too (which was why he was using it for everything, including crushing garlic). – Logan Pickup Dec 12 '18 at 6:12
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There are two things to look for in a garlic press if you want it to be easy: longer handles and narrower crushing piston (I don't know what else to call it). The longer the handles, the greater the leverage on the garlic. The narrower the crushing piston, the more concentrated the force is. To be clear, when I say narrow, I mean the amount of piston that touches the garlic is smaller.

I used to have a great garlic press from IKEA that had a very narrow piston and it was much easier to use than any other garlic press I've ever had.

2

I've never used this kind of device, but had seen it recently and it caught my eye. It is a rocker style garlic mincer. It would allow one to use two hands and lean on the counter, which I think could provide extra leverage:

One brand of the product: https://www.josephjoseph.com/en-us/rocker

Demo Video of this brand: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PxK5Aderzgw

Other brands are also available.

  • I use one of these myself, mostly because it is very easy to clean. It does require some force to use, but that can come from the shoulders more than the actual hands. – Lizzan Dec 11 '18 at 15:20
0

Not an ad, I have nothing to do with them, and this might not apply to your particular hand problems. But I have found the OXO brand of kitchen tools to be in fact kinder to hands than others. They tend to have fatter, longer and softer handles, and to require less force to operate in general.

That said, for garlic I personally have switched to @Kevin's solution, I squash it with the flat of a blade and finish it off with a bit of mincing if necessary. That saves the peeling step too, which is much easier when the clove is squashed.

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