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I never used a grater before

OK, I'm 66, been cooking all my adult life and never used a small grater before. I've always diced and minced with a knife.
Well, I bought one last week http://www.walmart.com/ip/Oneida-Hand... and grated a small piece of ginger. (About the size of a large marble.) Nothing came out. The whole piece of ginger was stuck in the grater. I beat it on the counter but nothing fell out. It took me a half an hour with a tooth pick to remove it all. I'll never grate ginger again!
Questions are, How do you get the food freed from a small grater???
What am I doing wrong?

Thank you,

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  1. I use a microplane for ginger and garlic. The holes on that grater look very, very small so I wouldn't use it. When I'm done with the microplane, I just rinse it in hot water then wash it with the rest of the dishes. Never had an issue.

    1. I use this ceramic ginger grater most of the time: http://www.amazon.com/Kyocera-CD-18-2...

      Never any problem getting the ginger out, as there is nothing for it to get trapped in. Aside from that, the original Microplane Zester, long, no handle, inexpensive, also works. You just need to scrape the ginger out of the bottom with a butter knife, then rinse out the grater. No toothpicks or other excavation needed.

      Some one here probably uses your grater model and will have advice on removal.

      7 Replies
      1. re: mcsheridan

        This looks to be what I need. A ceramic ginger grater.
        Thank you.
        I'll toss that other thing away.

        1. re: thegrindre

          The grater you got looks like its perfect for something like hard cheese, nutmeg. or chocolate for garnish- there won't be a lot of anything coming through the holes. Since ginger has a lot of fiber that's what got stuck in it so badly.
          The little ceramic ones are perfect for ginger.

        2. re: mcsheridan

          A daikon grater also works. Similar to your ceramic grater but with holes. I have the one pictured, but it's been so long I have no idea where I got it, probably somewhere like Daiso. It's very inexpensive. But you can probably get something similar at any Asian market that carries kitchen goods.

          1. re: gmm

            Boy, I like that. Looks perfect for ginger and garlic.

            1. re: thegrindre

              There's also this kind. My mother always had 2 or 3 on hand, also very inexpensive. The Kyocera ceramic one looks nice, but I wouldn't shell out $25 for something I rarely use.

              1. re: gmm

                Ebay is much cheaper. I have a $12 bid going on right now.
                I don't know how to cancel my bid cuz I found one for less then $10.
                Oh well. :-)

                1. re: thegrindre

                  Personally I'd go with a microplane. More versatile and very easy to use and clean. Cheap too and very sharp


        3. When you grate ginger, you generally grate a slightly larger piece than what you need, with the assumption that some of the fibers will stick to the grater. Also, grate with the fiber, not across it -- you'll lose less that way. Rinse with hot water (or soak in the sink while you finish cooking) and the food comes right off.

          1 Reply
          1. re: boogiebaby

            I was using a larger piece then I needed. It was all stuck in the grater and I couldn't get it out without a tooth pick.

          2. Wrong grater for the job.
            A micro plane would have turned a clove of garlic or a small knob of ginger into a small pile of purée in a matter of seconds with very little loss

            1 Reply
            1. re: scubadoo97

              Thank you very much. :-)
              I see the error in my ways, now.


            2. How to get the food freed? I start with a good thump or two (i.e., bang the grater on the cutting board) to dislodge the large pieces, then run in through the dishwasher along with everything else. Or blast it with a hard jet of water.

              Ginger is hard to grate with a standard box grater, let along the handheld one you're using. It usually results in a fiberous mess, as you've discovered - and if you're using just a small piece it's easy to grate your knuckles as well. Microplanes work the best, but I usually just mince it as fine as I can with a chef's knife.

              10 Replies
              1. re: tardigrade

                Don't have a dishwasher. Banging it on the counter didn't dislodge anything and I don't have a power jet water thingy.
                Had to use toothpicks and is the reason I posted my inquires of how to get the food out of one of these things in the first place.
                I wanted to eat what I had grated.

                1. re: thegrindre

                  An old toothbrush would work as well.

                  1. re: gmm

                    Excellent! Never thought of that.
                    How about a good toothbrush cuz I want to eat the grated food.

                    1. re: gmm

                      Exactly what I was about to suggest. I keep a small stiff brush on hand for all those bits - whether with a microplane, using cheeses, etc. (As an aside, the brush does double duty, cleaning my grill pan.)

                    2. re: thegrindre

                      I just looked at the link you attached for your grater. that is not the type of grater you should be using for ginger. You should be using a microplane type, that is flat on both sides. The one you linked appears to have the tiny bumpy dots on one side, which doesn't work well for ginger because of the fibers.

                      This is the grater I use for ginger -- grates well, and easy to clean: http://us.microplane.com/45004finespi...

                      1. re: boogiebaby

                        The grater the OP bought looks to have a similar surface as one side of my box grater. I've never figured out exactly what that side is useful for. I've never used it.

                        1. re: gmm

                          Haha neither have I! It's intriguing but useless.

                          1. re: gmm

                            I have always thought it was for citrus zest -- but it just doesn't work very well!

                          2. re: boogiebaby

                            And, it's very prickly and sharp. :-(

                            1. re: thegrindre

                              Paint them black and stick a votive in them - you can at least use them for Halloween. (Courtesy of Martha Stewart.) LOL

                      2. I see now that I've used the wrong tool for the job. I appreciate all your help and will buy a ginger/garlic grater.

                        Thank you,

                        1. I have one of those, they don't work. You did nothing wrong.

                          1. Hi Rick -

                            I've had the same experience.
                            Stuck, mushy Ginger. Same with Orange, Lemon, and Lime zest.

                            1. I would soak the grater blade, and then use a toothbrush.
                            2. If I'm cooking with Ginger, I use a small paring or universal knife. Skin and all, as we learned in cooking school ages ago. No grater.
                            3. When making candied Ginger, then I cut the skin off in a circular pattern using a small spoon or knife.
                            4. We have different blades for our graters. We use the grater primarily for bread crumbs, and hard cheese.

                            5. For the citrus, I found it is better to use a zesting tool, with a cannelle ring, for lemon peel swirls.

                            I hope this is helpful.

                            1. I think pretty much everyone has said it. The grater you have is probably not the best for one small piece of garlic or ginger. This is because it has a rather large dead volume as you have discovered. A better choice is either the ceramic grater which mcsheridan has mentioned or a microplane grater.

                              As for the ceramic plate grater. Kyocera makes some great one, but there are cheaper ones too. Look around.

                              1. Yeah, I'm going to buy a ceramic ginger grater.
                                I like the plate idea best.


                                6 Replies
                                1. re: thegrindre

                                  Great price! I'll share a trick I sometimes use. As I said upthread, there's nowhere for the ginger to get stuck. However, if there *are* any little bits clinging, I pour some soy sauce or whatever thin liquid my recipe calls for, and swish it around.
                                  Another plus: as you grate the ginger, ginger juice will collect around the rim. Perfect to add into whatever you're making.

                                  1. re: mcsheridan

                                    Ahh, I was thinking the same thing when I saw it.

                                    1. re: mcsheridan

                                      Hey mcsheridan,

                                      That ceramic grater works on garlic, too, doesn't it? I could swear I've seen it pulverize garlic at the state fair.


                                      1. re: DuffyH

                                        Ginger, garlic (big cloves, anyway), elephant garlic certsinly, even hard cheese.

                                    2. re: thegrindre

                                      I have. There are pros and cons of the ceramic grater -- like everything in life. What I like able the ceramic grater is that it is efficient, but also very safe. It is almost impossible to cut yourself using it. It is also very easy to clean. However, it does not "cut". It actually "rips" or "tear". So the texture if not different. While it is very easy to clean, it is not necessary easy to get all the grated ginger or ginger out because they it will be in between these needles.

                                    3. Shopping at Walmart may have been your first mistake ...

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: foiegras

                                        LOLOLOL I know you're right. LOLOL

                                      2. For the record, we tend to frugally grate or shave things until they either disappear, or our knuckles and fingers get cut. This can hurt a bit using the grater, but gets more serious when using a mandolin, suture kit at the ready.

                                        I came across this tool 3 years ago, and it works better than my fingers, or a plastic potato tool. It is made from stainless steel, and remarkably the little teeth to hold vegetables are very small in height, but effective.

                                        4 Replies
                                          1. re: alkapal

                                            So it is called a food guard in English. Thanks.

                                            Nice price. It sells alone here for 12 CHF or about $ 14. USD

                                            1. re: SWISSAIRE

                                              Thanks, SWISSAIRE. You always clue me in to the coolest kitchen utensils and gadgets! I actually found these for sale at Amazon Japan for 933 yen (about $9). Should arrive this weekend, and I'm really excited -- actually, is there something wrong with me??? ;-)

                                              1. re: tanuki soup

                                                Arigato Gozaimasu, Tanuki -

                                                There is nothing wrong with good tools in a functional kitchen.

                                                Simple pleasures. Enjoy your new arrival !


                                        1. That is such a nice confession.

                                          I have a confession. I never owned one, and used other people's grater. I dislike washing graters.

                                          I rarely use a grater.

                                          I once had a Betty Crocker small spinning electric grader, and did not mind cleaning it and loved it.

                                          1. grater no more: betty crocker

                                            11 Replies
                                            1. re: jonkyo

                                              I don't mind cleaning my mini FP for a large amount of garlic, but for a normal dinner, when I'm using 1-4 cloves? It's really not worth the trouble. By the time I get it out, set it up and chop the garlic, I can chop all 4 cloves with my knife, avoiding the cleanup. And unless I'm prepping a LOT of garlic, all it does it chop or mince, it won't do what a fine grater or zester will.

                                              But in all fairness, perhaps yours does a better job than mine; mine is a mini Cuisinart, so I can't really say how well yours will work.

                                              1. re: DuffyH

                                                Funny. Due to living in Asia, I simply crush the garlic once (smash it with a sturdy thick knife), to pull the skin off, then do nothing more with it, save for put it into the dishes I cook.

                                                1 to 4 cloves for a single dinner?

                                                That is really skimp, too skimp.

                                                A typical single person dish, with one helping left over, calls for about 4 heads of garlic.

                                                With such a load of garlic as 3 to 4 heads, I simply smash them once with the knife before the peel.

                                                I do chop ginger. That is what I used to use the Betty Crocker for. These days it is no trouble to use a knife, as I do not remove the ginger skin.

                                                Garlic gets tedious with skin removal.

                                                Chopping it, no. I use the peasant-village style of just frying it nearly whole, broken to some extent, also.

                                                Graters are more for first world cooking.

                                                I no longer have the Betty Crocker.

                                                I recommend one if you chop your garlic and cook in this fashion. Easy to clean.

                                                1. re: jonkyo

                                                  We buy a large 5 kg bag of peeled garlic from an Asian market in town. The cost is minimal about 7 CHF.

                                                  We then return home, turn on the exhaust fan and a open a window or 5, and start slicing the garlic cloves. Minced, rough chopped, and sliced. Takes about 15 minutes between the two of us, a chopping board and mat, and two sharp pairing knives.

                                                  Everything is distributed into pre-opened zip-lock sandwich bags, and in the freezer they go. If they are pre-opened, there is less handling of the bags and less odour around. One loads, and one zips and stores the bags away. Both of us then wash our hands in lemon juice, followed by soap, along with the knives and mat. Nothing ever touches the wood of the cutting boards, and with the mats, hasn't in years.

                                                  To cook, we just break off what we need out of a bag directly into the wok, pot, or pan we use that night.
                                                  Quick, no mess, no pulp drips, and no cleaning out the grater. We can take our time with the rest of the meal.

                                                  Doesn't work for ginger, so we cut that fresh as needed, skin and all.

                                                  And at 08:30 AM, the bread is ready to come out of the oven.


                                                  1. re: SWISSAIRE

                                                    Hi Rob,

                                                    <Nothing ever touches the wood of the cutting boards, and with the mats, hasn't in years.>

                                                    I once had some onion/garlic-infused watermelon. What a treat! I think the onion infusion would have worked, but the garlic was a bridge too far.

                                                    Once was enough. I now have an old nylon board that is dedicated to watermelon. We take no chances.


                                                    1. re: DuffyH

                                                      Hi Duffy-

                                                      Wow !

                                                      Onion, garlic-infused watermelon.

                                                      That sounds almost intoxicating.: Perhaps a new cocktail, or sorbet is on the way ?

                                                      Cheers -

                                                      1. re: SWISSAIRE

                                                        Well, as I said, the onion wasn't completely off the wall, but the garlic addition was just a mess.

                                                        A watermelon Gibson perhaps?

                                                  2. re: jonkyo

                                                    Hi jonkyo,

                                                    <A typical single person dish, with one helping left over, calls for about 4 heads of garlic.>

                                                    That depends entirely on what you're cooking, doesn't it? I like garlic, sure, but I like people, too, and want to be able to be around them after dinner.

                                                    Hardly anything I cook calls for as much garlic as you use. I normally cook for 2 people. 1-4 cloves is just about right. But as I said, I'm mincing or chopping it. You're tossing the whole clove into the pan. That makes a world of difference. My way releases a lot more garlic flavor, so more than 4 cloves is likely to be overkill.

                                                    1. re: DuffyH

                                                      This is interesting. My mother use to say she could smell the spices and garlic on me, when I visited.

                                                      No one does that anywhere, though living in China, and living in Chinatown in USA, and socializing with latin asian, certainly will not allow me to know if I smell. For the years in US, I have not had any problems that you refer to. Perhaps it is a regional thing, the smell sensitivity, that is

                                                      A friend told me on a subway car in South Korea, an untrained foreign nose can detect the garlic exuding from the passengers in the morning, even.

                                                      I lived there and I blended right in.

                                                    2. re: jonkyo

                                                      I use about 1-4 garlic too. That is just me and my recipes.

                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                        I have had people I cooked for, tell me "there is never any such thing as 'too much garlic'.

                                                        Unless you are unaccustomed to such.

                                                        It certainly is a personal preference.

                                                        1. re: jonkyo

                                                          Quite true, Jonkyo.

                                                          I like one or two cloves cooked now and then.

                                                          My wife is quite healthy, and gravitates towards the 40 cloves school of cooking.

                                                          No vampyres could ever survive near our house.

                                                2. Just wanted to say that I got my little 3.5 inch ceramic ginger grater in today.
                                                  Now, this is what I was looking for and didn't know it. It's fantastic!
                                                  Thanks, guys.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: thegrindre

                                                    Glad it worked out. I was just using mine about half an hour ago; I actually thought of you & this thread.