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One of my favorite time-saving tools in the Clean Food Kitchen is the fine grater. This humble little gadget is inexpensive, (usually retailing for somewhere between ten and fifteen dollars), easy to use and easy to store away. My favorite manufacturer for this type of grater is Microplane and their home series offers several different shapes and grating textures. Microplanes are made with surgical-grade stainless steel blades and safe, sturdy, ergonomic handles in fun colors.

How to use it

Watch your fingers as you use these graters to insure they don’t make contact with the biting blade. If you like, you can buy a mesh glove for use with this tool, but it’s not necessary as long as you pay attention. I usually just rinse my graters clean and pop them on the drainer to dry, but they go right into the dishwasher for sterilization as well.

The fine grater is my go-to tool for many types of fresh seasonings in-a-hurry. In seconds you can turn plain, simple whole food staples into more interesting dishes simply by adding a finely grated mash of pungents such as fresh ginger, garlic or onion. No need to peel the garlic or ginger before grating on a zester –this is a big time-saver, especially for garlic. Or you can add a pleasing hint of citrus by zesting the peel of an organic lemon, lime, orange or tangerine. Want to add a cheesy touch without piling on a lot of extra calories? Use the grater on hard Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese to create a super-fine dusting that will melt on contact with a hot dish to finish it.


  • One of the best tips for effective grating is to freeze softer foods first. This works especially well for butter, soft cheese, ginger root and lemongrass. Freezing is a double bonus for ginger and lemongrass if you don’t use them all the time because it will preserve their fresh flavors for weeks longer than refrigerator storage. Also, lemongrass is tough and fibrous, usually requiring pounding and labor-intensive mincing. Freezing stiffens the fibers and allows you to shear off exactly what you need in seconds.
  • If you need to grate something that melts easily, such as cocoa butter or chocolate, try putting the grater itself into the freezer for an hour first. The cold metal will help keep the food chilled long enough to grate.
  • For easy clean up, wash your grater right away with hot water and most food particles will come right out. If you let it sit before washing and end up with dried food clogging the openings, dunk it into hot water and rub the cut side of half a lemon vigorously over both sides of the grater to dislodge any hardened bits. Then rinse it and let it dry – easy!

Where to find it

You can find Microplane graters and zesters at all good kitchen supply and outfitting stores.

View the whole line here: http://us.microplane.com/microplanekitchentools.aspx


©2013 Jeannette Bessinger. All rights reserved worldwide