One of the oldest cooking tools still in use today is the mortar and pestle, and there’s a good reason for that fact: they do an amazing job of breaking food items down. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to crush nuts or seeds, or something a little more exotic, these tools will help you get the job done. That’s why we’ve not only wanted to explore the history of these items a little bit more, but we also wanted to make sure that we help our readers discover how to use them properly. To anyone who wants to know more about these kitchen tools, come along with us as we explore them in-depth.
The History Of Mortar & Pestles
No one really knows when the mortar and pestle were actually invented. It’s obvious that the idea of grinding a substance between two hard surfaces is likely over 100,000 years old or older. Many paleontologists believe that humans ground sorghum grass seeds between two rocks approximately 105,000 to 110,000 years ago in Africa. So humans have been grinding seeds, nuts, and other foods between two hard surfaces for quite a long time. This was likely to make the seeds easier for the human body to break down and use the nutrients.
Mortar and pestles were invented sometime after that—somewhere over 3,000-years ago. These mortars were made from a variety of different materials such as wood, stone, and even ceramic. It was one of the first ways for people to grind grains, and it would later be used for pharmaceutical preparations such as the creation of salves, pastes, and other assorted medicines.
How To Use A Mortar & Pestle
Now that we understand that mortar and pestles are tools that have been used for thousands of years, it’s time to turn to the central premise of this blog post: how to use your best mortar & pestle. Let’s get started with the basics and move on from that point.
Choose The Best One Available
One of the first things that you should do is to pick the best mortar & pestle for your needs. We recommend that consumers purchase mortar & pestles that are made from stone, marble, or granite. While they’re also some good wood mortar and pestles available, wood is a porous material that will stain easily. Ceramic mortar and pestles are good for light grinding, but they’re extremely fragile, so they have to be used with extreme care. In our opinion, marble, granite, and other stone mortars and pestles are the way to go.
It’s also important to choose the right size. Make sure that it’s big enough for your needs. If you only intend on grinding a small number of seeds, then you likely don’t need a large mortar and pestle. On the other hand, if you need to do a lot of grinding, don’t try to use a small one because you won’t get good results.
Use It For The Correct Job
To get the best results, don’t try to use the mortar and pestle for something other than its intended purpose. These tools are designed for grinding or crushing things like fresh herbs, spices, grains, etc. They are not designed to chop, puree, or blend together ingredients.
Don’t Overfill The Mortar
The mortar, if you didn’t know, is the cup portion of these tools. They’re designed to hold the grains, herbs, or spices that are going to be ground. It’s important not to fill the mortar more than one-third full when using it to grind. This gives you enough space to manipulate the materials in the mortar and will help you get a better grind.
Use One Hand For The Mortar & One For The Pestle
It’s also important that you handle the mortar and pestle set properly. The correct way to hold it is to hold the mortar in one hand to stabilize it while using the pestle with the other hand. Twist the pestle against the ingredients until they’re all the same consistency. If need be, rotate the mortar to make sure that you have access to all of the ingredients. By the time you’re done, all of the grains, herbs, or spices should be the same size.
Dump The Ingredients Into A Bowl Or Jar
Depending on whether you intend on using the ingredients you just used immediately, or if you’re going to store them for later use, it’s important to dispense them from the mortar immediately. The mortar should never be used to store spices, seeds, grains, or herbs. If using the ingredients immediately, dispense them into a bowl, otherwise, place them in a sealable container such as a jar.
Some Additional Tips
Before we say goodbye, we’d like to list a few other tips that you might want to think about when using a mortar and pestle. The following tips will ensure that you not only get good results from your set but that it remains in good condition from here on out.
- Remember To Read The Product’s Directions
- Wash And Dry The Mortar & Pestle After Use
- Store The Mortar And Pestle In A Safe, Dry Location.