Mortar and Pestle
They’re a familiar sight to most, a common symbol for pharmaceutical products, but what are a mortar and pestle to the world of cooking?
A mortar is a bowl shaped vessel and a pestle is a club shaped tool. They are used for pounding, grinding and mixing ingredients. A Mortar and Pestle is often referred to as a manual food processor. In general, they are sold in a set with one mortar and one pestle, but on occasions, there may be a “nest” sold together.
Mortar and Pestle are excellent tools for grinding spices as they generate very little friction so aromas are not burned off as they can be if using a food processor or grinder.
The sizes of mortar and pestles range from very small to large. When buying a mortar and pestle, while the smaller sets have a “cute” factor, buy the largest one you can accommodate in your kitchen as you can always use a large mortar for a small amount of ingredients but not vice versa.
Mortars with high sides are better as they keep ingredients in the bowl as they’re pounded, whereas ingredients pounded in a shallow sided mortar can “jump” out of the bowl.
Mortars are made from a range of materials, each type used for a different purpose:
|Resistance to moisture and odor:||Material Type:||Appropriate Ingredients:|
|Low||Wood||Dry ingredients such as spices and dried herbs.|
|Medium||Marble, granite, stoneware, lava stone, iron||Dry and wet ingredients – special care and preparation is needed before and after use|
|High||Porcelain, vitrified ceramic||Excellent with wet ingredients and good with dry ingredients. Generally dishwasher safe.|
Mortars and pestles are widely available online and at home stores, kitchen specialty stores, restaurant supply stores and some supermarkets.