“A mortar is a bowl shaped container made of a hard wood, marble, pottery, or stone. The pestle is a bat shaped tool that is used to grind inside the mortar (bowl) and pulverize grains, herbs, and other food substances as well as medicines” GourmetSleuth.com
Not everyone owns a Mortar and Pestle but it is a wonderful investment. I started out with a wooden one but it just didn’t pulverize seeds well so I stepped up to a marble one which has worked wonderfully.
Mortar and Pestles have a long history. Basically it is a manual food processor but I read on this site linked here that because it is done manually with minimal friction the aromas do not burn off in the process.
I often use a Mortar and Pestle to grind mustard seeds by hand as you see in the picture above. It really takes very little grinding to get the job done it is so easy to grind enough for a 1/4 or a 1/2 tsp. of mustard seed to quickly toss into a recipe. Because it is freshly ground the taste is superior and your recipes will reflect that.
I also use my Mortar and Pestle to grind cloves up for homemade Apple Butter which I told you I will have Apple Posts all over the place here soon. This weekend my husband and I made Applesauce, Apple Butter, Dried Apples, and Base for Apple Jelly. (More to Come Soon!)
I also use it for grinding Cardamom, Cinnamon Sticks, Dried Vegetables such as dried peppers, or tomatoes. I also love to use it with fresh herbs such as basil too. Jamie Oliver has a wonderful recipe for Pesto that uses a Mortar and Pestle: Basic-Pesto and although I used the food processor for my Pesto you may want to check out my recipe Karen Lynn’s Pesto as well here: “Where was pesto 10 years ago?”
With food prices continuing to go up anytime you can add that special something to a recipe without going out to eat it has made the investment of purchasing a Mortar and Pestle worthwhile. I found mine at a discount store and Amazon.com has them for sale too which I guess you all know is one of my favorite sites.
You probably can stumble upon one at a yard sale, flea market, or an estate sale as well. I think you will find its a welcome addition to your kitchen and if you already own one I would love to hear how you are using it in your kitchen!
Happy Halloween Everyone!