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Jun 12, 2013 09:13 AM

The Microplane: What's So Great?

I hear people raving about microplanes all the time, and I almost feel like I'm missing out. Thing is, I've already got two mini-box graters and wonder how the microplane would be an improvement over them. Perhaps a pack o' Hounds can sell me on the desirability.

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  1. My box grater is a standard size and honestly I only use the industry shred size holes for when I have a large qty of food to shred up. The other 3 sides look brand new.

    I like the ease in hand of a microplane for starters. The holes come in a variety of sizes for all sorts of jobs. Clean up is quicker than a box grater. It's a tool I can throw in my bag. So, I'm more likely to pack a microplane with me for a party to grate chocolate shavings or cheese on a dish I've prepared rather than at home. I wouldn't use a microplane for the jobs a box grater does well but they have a solid place in my gadget drawer.

    1 Reply
    1. re: HillJ

      Agree w/ everything HillJ said. I don't think there's any better tool for zesting citrus, or getting a fine grate on ginger or for finishing with parmesan cheese. Box graters just don't have small enough "holes" for those tasks.

      I lived w/ my mom for a short while and the first thing she asked for after I moved out was a microplane of her own since she loved mine so much.

    2. Hi, PK:

      I use both, but only because I haven't purchased enough microplanes.

      I like the latter because they're unbelievably sharp, ergonomic, stow easily, come with guards, and are a bit easier to clean. They're also easier for me to use grating things into or onto a prep, rather than onto a paper towel, etc.

      The jury's still out on their longevity, because the steel of which they're made is somewhat thin. One of their health products, the "Ped Egg" does dull faster than I'd expected.


      3 Replies
      1. re: kaleokahu

        I totally forgot about the PedEgg... that thing is awesome, except yes, it does dull pretty fast.

        1. re: kaleokahu

          The Ped Egg is not put out by microplane. It is a copy and yes, dulls fast.

          Microplane came out first with (and still carries) their foot file.

          1. re: kaleokahu

            They do go dull eventually, but you'll have gotten a lot of use out of them before that happens.

          2. For zesting citrus it is simply the best. Releases tons of oils, adding much more flavor and scent - and much less bitter white pitch.

            And my husband loves it when I use it to grate pecorino - he says it makes it like snow, it is so light and fluffy, a great topping.

            1 Reply
            1. re: happybaker

              it earns its rent space for this use alone, even if I never used it for anything else. Love my microplane(s)

            2. As others said, can't beat a microplane for zesting lemons, oranges and such. Does a great job on ginger, and also for angel-fine grating Parmesan Cheese.

              On the other hand, I use the large holes on my box grater for making Parmesan Crisps. Nothing works better for that. The other sides of my box grater never get used. Zesting fruit isn't as good because it sticks too much in the box grater.

              Microplaning orange (Rhubarb Upside Down Cake)
              Microplaning ginger (Hermits)
              Box grater (Parmesan Crisps)

              1. Y'all are making a strong case and winning me over.

                21 Replies
                1. re: Perilagu Khan

                  There was a thread about 4- 5 months ago about grating nutmeg. Chowhounds like HillJ and a few others extolled the results from a microplane, above and beyond your basic, tempermental nutmeg grinder (never used one of those, either). I ran out and bought a microplane, but I'll have to let you know closer to Christmas how I like it. I bought it for the exclusive job of grating nutmeg for our homemade eggnog. I'll get back to you on that!

                  1. re: Florida Hound

                    Hold on there friend, you are waiting until December to use your microplane? Now I know I didn't extoll the virtues of waiting a year to use a gadget....

                    I'm not much of a gadget pusher am I...12 months..geesh!

                    1. re: HillJ

                      I just took delivery today of my new cloud-based computer and can't figure out how to post the recent nutmeg thread. Please give it.

                        1. re: HillJ

                          Hill, NO ONE has ever accused me of THAT :) Thanks for the link. I'm probably too old for this technology but former CH Alan Barnes has been walking me through the process.

                          1. re: c oliver

                            You'll get it. We use a cloud-based setup for our music collection; about three years now.

                            1. re: c oliver

                              Whatever happened to Alan Barnes anyway?!!

                              P.S. I love my microplane... as others have said its the #1 tool for zesting citrus, finely grated parm, ginger,chocolate, etc.

                              1. re: lynnlato

                                I never thought about chocolate but then it's not an ingredient I use very often. But I'm thinking of possibilities.

                                He got tired of it here. Just that simple.

                                1. re: c oliver

                                  I don't use chocolate, as an ingredient, very often either.

                                  Glad to know AB just moved on and is well. I still miss Sam and some of the others from "back in the day".

                      1. re: Florida Hound

                        It's FABULOUS for nutmeg. Can't believe I forgot to list that amongst my loves.

                        If you don't want to wait until the holidays to try it, maybe make a cream sauce or fresh spinach and grate just a bit of nutmeg in to test?

                        Enjoy your new toy!

                        1. re: happybaker

                          Or FL Hound how about trying your microplane out on something else until you make eggnog. Like a hard cheese cheese, raw garlic, chocolate shavings, etc. Nothing like breaking in a new toy!

                          1. re: HillJ

                            A community of concern- it does my heart good. I will have to try the microplane on some cheese.
                            Oh- late report... My wife tells me she did use it to shred some cheddar cheese about a month ago (who knew?). Her illuminating report: "It worked fine."

                        2. re: Florida Hound

                          Nutmeg is one of the things a microplane does best.

                            1. re: HillJ

                              Oooh, another I hadn't thought of.

                          1. re: Florida Hound

                            Microplane nutmeg report!!!! To hillj and other friends on this thread: Eggnog season finally got here, and I got to use the microplane for its intended purpose (intended at our house, anyway.) After some concern that I would grate my finger to pieces, I jumped into the task of grating the whole nutmeg over a fresh glass of homemade eggnog. And the nutmeg popped out of my fingers and rolled across the floor. Out in the trash for that little nutmeg. Repeat this exercise about 3 or 4 times since Christmas Eve. By Christmas evening, I was learning the nutmeg deathgrip, dusting the eggnogs adequately, and getting ready to post this after 6+ months of anticipation. I'm the newbie to this microplane business, and enjoying the "new toy" (took awhile to get here, HillJ, happybaker and all!) Freshly grated nutmeg is aromatic and flavorful. My wife thinks its more intense than store-bought ground nutmeg, but I found it was just different, not really more intense, and I didn't use any less freshly grated nutmeg (vs. store-bought ground nutmeg) to give my tastebuds what they wanted. This year's batch of eggnog did get very good reviews from friends and family.
                            Thanks all.
                            Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

                            1. re: Florida Hound

                              I just have to ask. Why did you throw it out just because it hit the floor? Julia Child wouldn't have done that :) Don't you know about "the three second rule"????? It IS a great tool. We're doing a house exchange right now and the only two things I brought with me, tool wise, were my chef's knife and MP grater.

                              1. re: Florida Hound

                                <By Christmas evening, I was learning the nutmeg deathgrip>

                                What is nutmeg deathgrip like?

                                < My wife thinks its more intense than store-bought ground nutmeg, but I found it was just different>

                                You would be correct. If freshly grind spice is simply more intense than store-brought ground nutmeg, then all we need to do is to add more store brought ground nutmeg to make up the intensity difference, but it isn't just that.

                                <This year's batch of eggnog did get very good reviews from friends and family.>

                                Thanks for the update. I am sure HillJ will be very happy to hear this.

                                1. re: Florida Hound

                                  With practice, tuck the nutmeg (or garlic clove if going in a savory cooked application) between 2 fingers. Hold you index and middle finger tightly together, then slide them with the nutmeg stabilized between them. Takes some practice (try garlic into a marinade. . .) but it protects ends of fingers. Now I just use my palm, but my microplane is a bit dull so I wouldn't try it with a new one.

                                  1. re: autumm

                                    I also do the "two finger" thing.