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

blue room Jan 22, 2011 11:07 AM

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. k
    kariya66 RE: blue room Jan 22, 2011 11:42 AM

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

    1. tim irvine RE: blue room Jan 22, 2011 11:53 AM

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


      1 Reply
      1. re: tim irvine
        blue room RE: tim irvine Jan 23, 2011 08:58 AM

        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
        Isolda RE: blue room Jan 22, 2011 11:59 AM

        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. r
          redfish62 RE: blue room Jan 22, 2011 12:00 PM


          1. k
            knet RE: blue room Jan 22, 2011 12:14 PM

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

            3 Replies
            1. re: knet
              blue room RE: knet Jan 22, 2011 12:17 PM

              How do you use the wooden one?

              1. re: blue room
                knet RE: blue room Jan 22, 2011 02:35 PM

                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
                  blue room RE: knet Jan 23, 2011 08:59 AM

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

            2. blue room RE: blue room Jan 22, 2011 12:16 PM

              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. re: blue room
                Chemicalkinetics RE: blue room Jan 22, 2011 01:48 PM

                Too small.

              2. Chemicalkinetics RE: blue room Jan 22, 2011 01:49 PM

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

                1. Bada Bing RE: blue room Jan 22, 2011 03:37 PM

                  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
                    blue room RE: Bada Bing Jan 22, 2011 03:41 PM

                    Good point, the weight doing the work.

                    1. re: Bada Bing
                      chefathome RE: Bada Bing Jan 22, 2011 06:14 PM

                      +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
                        LauraB706 RE: Bada Bing Jan 22, 2011 06:16 PM

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

                      2. dcole RE: blue room Jan 23, 2011 08:12 AM

                        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
                          blue room RE: dcole Jan 23, 2011 09:08 AM

                          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.

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