Mincing is a preparation strategy used in cooking. Essentially, any food that is minced is dividing into extremely fine and more or less evenly sized units. The technique can be used with spices and herbs as well as fruits, vegetables and even meats.
One of the main benefits of mincing is that the process helps to release the flavor of various foods evenly throughout the dish. For example, preparing minced garlic releases the juices into a casserole or other type of dish in a manner that allows the flavor and aroma of the garlic to distribute throughout the food rather than be confined to the area immediately around the garlic clove. As a result, it takes much less garlic in a given recipe to achieve the same level of taste.
Another benefit to this food preparation technique has to do with the texture of the prepared dish. Because mincing reduces the food to tiny but more-or-less uniform pieces, it is easier to achieve a smoother texture to the recipe. This can be especially important in the preparation of cream soups, sauces and puddings where there is a desire to add the flavor of a particular ingredient without making a huge impact on the overall texture of the dish. For example, finely mincing apples to add into a gelatin mold will create an added bit of subtle visual interest to the presentation of the dish, but will allow the gelatin dish to retain a relatively smooth texture.
It is important to note that a true mincing definition goes beyond finely chopping various types of foods. Finely chopped foods still tend to be easily identified even after adding to the other ingredients. By contrast, minced foods are only barely noticeable, have minimal impact on the texture of the finished recipe. The real impact of this technique is adding another flavor that may be an added surprise for anyone who consumes a portion of the prepared dish.
While the actual process is usually accomplished using various types of mincing knives and a mincing board, it is also possible to purchase appliances today that will handle the task with ease. Many food processors have a setting for mincing as well as chopping, while other mincing machines that are created specifically to mince different types of foods are also widely available. In most cases, a simple mincing knife and cutting board is enough to mince herbs and spices. However, the more powerful machines are often helpful when working with larger foods such as vegetables, fruits, or meats.