Mortar and Pestle: The Kitchen Tool You Never Knew You Needed

If you’ve never used a mortar and pestle, you’ve never lived. Ok, that might be an exaggeration, but hear us out! In today’s modern world, there’s a gadget for everything. Need to slice an avocado in record time? There’s a tool that safely slices, cores, and scrapes it in a matter of moments. Are you hungry for bacon, but don’t want to break out the frying pan? Never fear. Microwave bacon racks exist! And of course, there are the ever popular (and pretty amazing) programmable pressure cookers that reduce your dinner prep time in half.

We get it. Sometimes on a busy weeknight, the speed and convenience of the perfect kitchen tool can make or break your evening. But the beauty of a mortar and pestle doesn’t lie in its ability to produce results quickly.

On the contrary, this tool is all about slowing down and simplifying your routine so that you can fully enjoy the process and, better yet, the flavor.

Food processors can quickly chop large quantities of vegetables or shred an entire block of cheese. They can make hummus in a blink of an eye and guacamole in a jiff. But when it comes to flavor and control, they don’t stand a chance against a mortar and pestle. Why? Simply put: a mortar and pestle crushes and a food processor chops.

To get the fullest flavor from, say, a mint leaf, it’s best crushed.

When we hand grind an herb, the plant’s structure is broken down so that oils (by which we mean, flavor) are more readily released than by chopping. Not to mention, because using a mortar and pestle is much more controlled than a motorized chopping machine, there is less damage to ingredients. This translates into creamier pesto, chunkier guacamole, and more flavorful curry paste.

So which mortar and pestle should you add to your kitchen arsenal? Good question!

Good Flavor Mortar and Pestle

Good Flavor Mortar and Pestle

This light weight little beauty is perfect for grinding herbs, spices, and other ingredients that come in smaller quantities. It doesn’t take up much room on the shelf, and it makes short work of cumin seeds or cloves of garlic. Say goodbye to trying to crush those peppercorns with a heavy frying pan!

Stoneware Mortar and Pestle

Stoneware Mortar and Pestle

This mortar and pestle is thoughtfully handcrafted, just like your dinner is about to be! The grooves in the bowl help create friction so you can more easily grind tough ingredients like nuts or seeds into a fine paste.

Salt Crystal Mortar and Pestle

Salt Crystal Mortar and Pestle

Carved by hand from pink Himalayan salt, this mortar and pestle is so much more than a kitchen tool. It’s a body scrub maker, a flavored salt mixer, and a conversation starter. The unique material will capture the attention of guests, so make sure to give it a place of honor on the shelf when it isn’t whipping up your new favorite recipe.

So, next time you’re in the kitchen remember these words of wisdom: Slow it down and crush it.

 

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Valentina

A Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Valentina lives in Lancaster, PA where she runs slowly, hikes often, and excitedly points out historical landmarks to friends and family. She is fond of curry and guacamole, and insists that vanilla ice cream is a waste of time and calories. Val is convinced that the greatest feeling in the world is stepping off a plane in a new place, and is a passionate believer that all the best days include books, baking, border collies, and bagpipes.

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