Every modern kitchen should have a mortar and pestle set. They are used for a number of jobs such as making curry paste, guacamole, and grinding spices. Even though urbanization and technological advancement have given us contemporary machines like food processors, blenders, and spice grinders, a mortar and pestle is still a useful item to have on hand.
When you crush and grind spices with a mortar and pestle, you release its essential oils, allowing you to taste a greater spectrum of flavor notes. You will not be able to achieve this same result by using modern equipment. This guide has everything you need to know about choosing the best mortar and pestle set as well as our top picks for you.
Before you go ahead and buy your own mortar and pestle set, there are a few things that you should keep in mind:
Mortar and pestle sets can either be made of porous or non-porous material.
Mortar and pestle sets constructed of porous materials, such as wood, granite, or basalt (volcanic rock), will absorb flavor and demand a lot of upkeep. However, due to these rocks' porosity, flavors and aromas are easily trapped in the pores, making these sets ideal for producing pastes like curry or salsa.
Nonporous mortar and pestle sets are created from materials like marble, vitrified ceramic, stainless steel, and porcelain. These materials are entirely smooth and do not absorb flavors. They also have a high degree of hardness, which makes them a great grinding surface.
Your choice of whether you want a porous or non-porous mortal and pestle set will depend on what you are looking for.
There are different sizes of mortar and pestle sets to meet different demands. Generally speaking, if you have room, it's preferable to get a bigger mortar and pestle set. A medium-sized mortar and pestle set typically holds 2 cups of ingredients, a larger mortar holds 4 cups and a smaller mortar holds 1 cup. Make sure when taking size into consideration that you also consider the weight of the pestle. Working with a heavy pestle is challenging and might strain your wrist.
Despite the fact that all mortars and pestles have a similar design, it is ideal to pick one that is wide and shallow so that there is a lot of surface area to work with. Ingredients should ideally be arranged in a single layer. Narrower and deeper mortars may make it difficult to do this.
The shape of the pestle is also important. The pestle should be long and wide enough to comfortably crush and pulverize without touching the rim of the mortar.
Below is our list of the best mortar and pestle sets that you can choose from to take your cooking to the next level:
This five-piece mortar and pestle set from Pepe Nero include a sturdy granite mortar and pestle, a spatula, a garlic peeler, and an avocado cutter. This set stands out due to its size, affordable price, and firm grip. If you're new to the world of mortars and pestles and looking for something that is easy to use, consider buying this one.
The roughly 7-pound granite mortar bowl can accommodate two complete cups of ingredients. It is big enough to contain a lot of ingredients without taking up too much space on your countertop making it a perfect addition to your kitchen.
One of the bigger items on this list is the Vasconia Mortar and Pestle. It has a broad six-inch opening and can hold roughly four cups of ingredients.
The mortar has a very solid base that does not move while you use it, reducing the possibility of creating any mess. It also has a very elegant and traditional marble design that will look excellent in your kitchen. The set's only flaw is that the pestle is rather short, measuring only four inches. However, if this is not a concern for you, you can go for this set.
The Ikea Aedelsten set is the best option if you're looking for something cheap. The mortar's interior, which is made of marble, contains ridges that make it easier to crush and pulverize spices. The reversible design of the pestle is what makes this set so special. The round side is ideal for powdering herbs, while the flat side is perfect for round spices like black pepper.
The Cooler Kitchen EZ-Grip excels at two things: comfort and durability. Crushing herbs and spices are made comfortable by the rubber-wrapped pestle. Along with the rubber coating on the pestle, the mortar's porcelain substance is also quite thick, which greatly aids in longevity.
This set is smaller than others, with a capacity of only around a cup, making it less suitable for foods like guacamole or pesto but ideal for increasing flavor from freshly ground spices.
The Bekith mortar and pestle are made of 18/8 gauge stainless steel. It has a non-skid base and won't absorb flavors or scents or discolor them. This set is on the smaller side and won't take up much room on the counter.
The clear lid on the pestle prevents any debris from escaping the mortar while it is being used. Due to the material, it is made up of, it can easily be cleaned with warm water and soap, unlike other sets. The only drawback of this set is its smooth interior which provides very little friction to help mix veggies or herbs.
Even though stone and marble mortars are easy to find, consider choosing a wooden mortar and pestle set if you're looking for something unique. The Naturally Med set makes crushing herbs and spices like cumin, coriander, or pine nuts easy. Both the mortar and pestle weigh under 1 pound and because it is so lovely to look at, you can choose to leave it out on the kitchen countertop for decorative purposes.
When not in use, this mortar and pestle made of green marble will easily fit in a drawer or cabinet. The set comes in 3- and 4-inch sizes, with the smaller version weighing only one pound and the larger model weighing a more substantial 3 pounds. Both devices include a substantial pedestal base for further grinding stability.
Both the bowl and the pestle have a small pebble on their smooth surfaces for herbs and spices to "grab" onto when being pounded or mashed into fine powders and smooth pastes. Not only is this set functional but it is also unique due to its striking green color.
After using your mortar and pestle set for grinding, immediately wash it by hand in warm water and let it air dry. Since scented soaps and detergents will flavor your stone mortars, avoid using them.
Similar to cast iron cookware, the majority of mortar and pestle sets require seasoning before use. Since many mortar and pestles are not dishwasher safe, seasoning usually begins with a thorough cleaning and drying. The surface should then be prepared by grinding a couple of spoons of white rice into a fine powder. For information on how to season and care for your mortar pestle, make sure to go through the instructions that came with it.
A mortar and pestle is the perfect tool to use when you need to grind something into a paste or powder. Pepe Nero is without a doubt our top choice for the best mortar and pestle set. It is not only reasonably priced, but it also comes with additional useful kitchen accessories.
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In this guide, we'll break down the process into simple steps, providing you with practical tips to enhance your spice-grinding game.