When a recipe calls for minced or chopped garlic, can I use a garlic press‚ or bottled pre-chopped garlic?  

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Photo: Beau Gustafson; Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine

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If you have a cooking question, our expert, Marge Perry, can answer it. Marge teaches home cooks in her classes at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. She is an award-winning food writer, longtime contributor for Cooking Light and a number of other leading food magazines, author of the blog A Sweet and Savory Life, columnist for Newsday, and has contributed to over 20 cookbooks.

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First, the difference between minced and chopped garlic can have a big impact on your cooked dish. A "mince" is finer than a "chop", and here's why it matters. If you use chopped garlic, which is bigger, in a dish that calls for minced and doesn't cook very long, you will likely be eating raw and pungent garlic.

A garlic press makes a paste of the garlic with more of the garlic oils released. Very finely chopped, or minced garlic is less than 1/16 inch in diameter, like course cornmeal. Chopped garlic is typically no more than an 1/8 inch.

The good news is that many grocery stores now sell bottled minced and chopped garlic. While nothing beats fresh, when the garlic is a seasoning and not a major source of the flavor of the dish, the bottled makes a decent short-cut. Just be sure to read labels and look for the brand with little or no added ingredients.

See 7 Ways with Garlicfor a variety of uses for garlic.

Marge Perry
Aug, 2010
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