Use and Care for a Mortar and Pestle

I love my mortar.  Not sure why.  It sat in my kitchen for years and was not used.  It moved with me to 4-5 new places and never was used.  Then I married Rob.  He asked why I didnt use it, I had no intelligent reply so I started using it.  I can honestly say that it is only used for a few things but now that I am branching out in my cooking I will be using it for more. 

The task we use it for most is grinding up pepper and other spices.  I love how it smells now, all warm and inviting like I am in a spice shop.  I used it recently in my meatballs recipe and promised to show you how to use it and how to clean it.   So here goes.

Use, is easy.  You use it to grind up pepper, cinnamon stick, or to muddle other dried spices into powder.  I use it to ground up my oregano, basil and other spices if i dont want alot of flaky bits.  But Aaron will demonstrate with grinding pepper.

Cast of Characters

First take your prescribed amount needed.  Say you need 1 tbsp of pepper.  I would measure out ab0ut 1 1/2 tbsp of peppercorns and put them in the mortar.
Steadily apply pressure to start breaking them up a bit.
Then wrap a towel or a washcloth around the pestle and holding it down you can start really pounding on the peppercorns.

Swirling motions work as well.  Once you have gotten most of them cracked and ground a bit, you can take off the washcloth and then finish up to the fineness you need. 

Clean up was always one of the reasons I didnt use it often, the flavors would mix cause I wasnt cleaning it correctly.  Again my dear darling smart husband corrected me on that.   You clean it with uniodized salt.

Start with putting a tablespoon or two of salt in the mortar.
Grind it around all the surface that needs to be cleaned.

And grind and grind until it is a powder…..

Empty and then repeat.  Its that simple.  I use this for when I am making large batches of salsa and it requires 3 tbsp of pepper.  I dont like it already ground, you cannot taste the spice to it, it is just there but when you grind it yourself.. the warmth and the smell permeates the house. 

I would like to thank Aaron and Nik who are generally my mortar and pestle men!  I can say that I dont know too many kids out there who can use one.. leave it to my boys to know how. LOL  Though Millie says she would like to learn but she has no thumbs.  Look at her.. she wants to learn..


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Punken
    Mar 14, 2011 @ 13:22:27

    You dog is too stinkin cute!!! Also tried your meatballs with my own twist and they were a huge hit!! Thanks:)


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