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A mortar and pestle should be made of...?

Marble? Smooth stone? Rough stone? Glass?
I recently needed to crush some little seeds (cardamom) -- the food processor was useless, as was a hammer and a baggie. Finally (successfully) used the back of a spoon on a glass plate.

I suppose it depends on what needs crushing?

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  1. I have a marble mortar and pestle. It works just fine. If you need to crush/grind spices faster. get a coffee grinder.

    1. I have been very happy with my vitreous mortar and pestle for thirty plus years.


      1 Reply
      1. re: tim irvine

        Cannot argue with 30 years of "very happy", but I'm gonna read all the other posts anyway :)
        But 30 years...cannot argue!

      2. I have one marble and one granite. The marble one is rough; the granite is polished. They work equally well. When I have a large quantity of spices to crush or grind, I use the little 1 cup container that came with my blender. I prefer this to a dedicated coffee/spice grinder because you can thoroughly wash all parts in the dishwasher, which practically eliminates the possibility of transferring flavors.

          1. One granite, one porcelain and one wooden mortar. All are fine, all get used for different things.

            3 Replies
              1. re: blue room

                Blue Room - Wooden one is only used for seeds and similar. It isn't heavy enough for a lot of things but it is truly beautiful

                1. re: knet

                  I saw an olive wood one today -- yes, truly beautiful.

            1. I sure like the looks of this one -- because the pestle almost equals the size of the bowl -- looks very effective, easier to use?

              1 Reply
              1. I like granite mortar and pestle, but I agree. It depends what kind of things you want to work on.

                1. If your question concerns function rather than aesthetics, then I say get something big and heavy and stony. I like granite, because big and heavy doesn't cost a fortune, it works as well as anything else, and it can never rust or rot or break. Look in a Thai market.

                  By the way, I also find that a big M&P works best even for small jobs. A heavy pestle does so much work from sheer weight. I have some smaller marble ones but really lost any reason to use them at all once I got a 17lb granite model.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Bada Bing

                    Good point, the weight doing the work.

                    1. re: Bada Bing

                      +1 granite. I have marble ones, too, but like granite better as the inside is rough which is wonderful for grinding, making pestos, etc. My granite is also 17 lb and I would not get anything smaller.

                      1. re: Bada Bing

                        Yes, the weight AND the shape of the pestle is extremely important. Make sure it's comfortable to hold and pound with.

                      2. I like cast iron. slightly rougher, holds onto things/gives some friction so what youre crushing doesnt dance around on you.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: dcole

                          Cast iron, another choice, -- a *very* preliminary search around the web finds these only on UK websites. But I wouldn't mind the little bit of extra upkeep (to avoid rust) if this is what I decide on.