How do I prepare a mortar and pestle before use?

Written by arlene lauren
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How do I prepare a mortar and pestle before use?
New mortars and pestles need to be seasoned before their first uses. (mortar and pestle with oregano image by Brett Mulcahy from Fotolia.com)

A mortar is similar in shape to a bowl, and a pestle is a cylinder-shaped tool. The mortar and pestle are often made of stone, marble, pottery or wood and are commonly used to grind herbs, spices and grains.

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Cleaning

Begin by thoroughly cleaning both the pestle and the inside of the mortar. Use hot water and a stiff brush and allow them both to air-dry.

Preparation Method 1

One method of preparing a mortar and pestle before use is to place approximately 1/2 cup of dry, uncooked rice into the mortar and grind it almost to a powder using the pestle. Discard the ground rice and repeat with new rice until the ground rice is white in colour and not grey or brown. Rinse the mortar and pestle with warm water and allow to dry before use.

Preparation Method 2

Another method of seasoning a mortar and pestle before use is to add 4 peeled cloves of garlic and 1 teaspoon each of cumin, salt and pepper to the mortar. Grind the garlic and spices into a fine paste using the pestle. Discard the spice paste, rinse the mortar and pestle with warm water, and allow to dry before use. This method can be used alone to prepare a mortar and pestle or can be used in combination with the first method.

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