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Jun 15, 2013 10:55 AM

Molcajete questions

I was recently gifted a Casa Maria Molcajete (I think ordered from Amazon). Whilst researching how to season, I read that some on the market are not actual stone, but are made out of concrete with various toxic binders (yay China!). Anyway to tell which I have?

I can see concentric circles in the bowl, which I thought was a good sign that it was carved out (albeit by a machine) rather than cast.

Any help would be appreciated!

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  1. A quick Google search indicates that the Casa Maria brand molcajetes are natural stone. Thank goodness.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Veggo

      I wasn't sure if "natural stone" could be a catch all for anything. But I think you may be right. The box read "made and printed in China" so I got worried, but then my wife pointed out that this probably just referred to the box.

      Thanks for the help!

    2. How reliable are those sources that talk about concrete, 'toxic binders', and China? In the context of 'concrete' I don't know what is meant by a 'binder', toxic or not.

      1. Casa Maria are made in China from a material that is different from the Mexican made ones.

        Genuine Mexican molcajetes are made from lava rock.

        The one I inherited from Mom had a leg break.

        Bought one at Macy's (with coupon) for roughly the same price as that Chinese one on Ebay.

        3 Replies
        1. re: DeeAgeaux

          So are they actually solid stone? Not concrete? I also read that the concrete versions always give off grit, so didn't want to season it and use it if I'm going to have concrete bits in my guac.

          1. re: bcemail

            Natural stone ones can also give off grit. That's big part of why you season it - to rub off the loosest grit and fill in gaps. I would expect the more porous basalt ones to produce more grit.

            1. re: bcemail

              Seasoning a molcajete comes with owning one, just as seasoning cast iron is an expectation when you buy a piece. The seasoning of a molcajete is once-and-done. I have one that I purchased a few years ago at a small Mexican grocery store here in southeastern PA. It was well-priced (about half the price of the same thing at W-S). I seasoned it with rice, as is often recommended, and I've been using it without any problems ever since.

          2. Don't get sucked in by the "traditional" methods of seasoning a molcajete. They're traditional because running water was not an option and the molcajete's they had made Chinese made stuff look like a Rolls Royce. You want to clean it. Water and a scrub brush. Test with a beaker until the water is the same color as when it comes out of the tap. Then season with your choice of spices.

            We have a Casa Maria. It's smooth enough on the inside than you don't need to grind to smoothen. Just use it.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Ray2

              Funny you should mention that...I was actually considering using sandpaper to smooth the inside. I figured it was the same concept as grinding rice, just an updated version.

              1. re: Ray2

                Yes, the Aztecs did not have running water. LOL

                They drank from a cesspool to make Mexico City more populous than London or Madrid.

                The Aztecs where able to make dog food and children's toys without poisoning their users something modern Chinese factories have a difficult time with.

                If getting something like Casa Maria why bother getting a "molcajete" then?

                Just get a mortar and pestle.

                BTW I used rice to season my molcajete and it works just fine.

              2. It is made in china but it is one of the best ones made out of granite. To cure it few passes with steel brush, wash with stiff nylon brush, dry it let it sit a couple of hours until dry add some rice and grind, repeat steps several times. It should not take you long it is almost cured out of the box. The best molcajete mortar hybrid I ever used.