Why a Mortar and Pestle Should be Part of Your Preps
It's a simple tool, symbolic of an old apothecary. But mortars and pestles have been used in food preparation since cooking was invented. And they don't require electricity like a food processor.
The mortar part is the bowl, and the pestle is the part used for crushing and grinding. The item to be ground is placed in the mortar and ground, crushed, or mixed using the pestle. Native Americans used something like a mortar and pestle to grind acorn flour and corn. Large wooden mortars and pestles are sometimes used in third-world countries like grinding stones, to husk or dehull grain.
But let's talk about a small one for your kitchen.
I got a little one, made of porcelain for ease of disinfection and cleaning. I find mine useful for powdering dried spices, as long as I clean our the thing with bleach after using it to grind up dried diced garlic. They are perfect for making pesto (ground fresh basil and pine nuts, or in my case pecans), making guacamole, or mashing foods like chick peas for hummus (or cow peas, the local substitute – it makes a great humus.) They are also really good for grinding fresh medicinal herbs like echinacea, for tinctures. You can grind nut butters by hand with a mortar and pestle, too.
Are any of you using a mortar and pestle in your cooking, and if so – what for?
I've used one for years because I favor Indian cooking, using these tools means I get to grind my spice as I need it and the difference in flavor is fantastic. Well worth the effort
I bought two cast iron mortar and pestles at the Lodge outlet not too far from me. (how lucky am I). I use the small one to grind fresh herbs usually rosemary. Don't use the large one much. Handy!