Mortar And Pestle: Why And How To Select
Image Credit: Stone mortar and pestle, Image Source: Pexels

The mortar and pestle have a reputation for being an antiquated and ineffective cooking tool. For many, it evokes a lot of memories. However, their usefulness in the arrival of motorised and electric blenders is debatable. But one must not undervalue it. The mortar and pestle were among the few cooking tools our ancestors used for thousands of years. They had the fire, tools with sharp edges for cutting, vessels for storage, and, most importantly, stones and wood to pound and ground everything. 

Why use them?

And if you ask any culinary experts, they will vouch for the flavour and taste using this ancient pounding tool is way superior to an electric blender. Besisde this, there are few more reasons to own one of this antique kitchen equipment. It crushes fibres and cells to significantly change their texture and release their entire flavour and scent. A blade will never be able to perform that as, well. 

How to select them?

Nevertheless, not all mortar and pestle are prized possessions. One has to look for the right one to get the maximum benefit. 

Spheroidal shape bowl

Round bowl, Image Source: Freepik

Swirling the pestle and crushing everything in its path is considerably simpler when the bowl is uniformly spherical. Using the pestle on cylindrical mortars with pointed bottom corners is more difficult. They make it more challenging to crush and ground the contents.

Big pestle

A big pestle, Image Source: Freepik

When working in a large mortar, never choose a short, narrow, or slender pestle. Using a pestle that is too short for a mortar is impossible without beating your palm against the edge. Similarly, if the head is too narrow, it will only push components around rather than smash them.

Stone mortar

Stone mortar and pestle, Image Source: Freepik

A sturdy stone mortar is preferable in most instances, though certain exceptions exist. With its strength, density, and unyielding nature, stone like marble or granite makes for an effective smashing surface. It is also not as fragile as ceramic. On the other hand, wood works best as a pestle in particular situations but less well as a mortar. Because its density and hardness are comparable to those of many of the foods, we ground.

Size guide

An eight-inch diameter and a minimum volume of four cups are required for a large mortar and pestle. Keep an eye on these specifications. Many vendors offer huge mortars with a maximum volume of closer to two cups. A sizable mortar and pestle are required to make any flavorful sauces and pastes from worldwide.

Material and finish

Unpolished interior, Image Source: Pexels

Among all the materials, try to look for a Thai mortar and pestle, which has both components composed of rock-solid granite. It works as a strong hitter and possibly the most adaptable kind of massive mortar and pestle you can purchase. The interior should not be polished. Stay away from mortars with glossy, smooth bowls. They are deficient in the abrasive properties required for adequately cutting and pounding food. This benefit is especially noticeable when crushing dry spices.