What is Grater? Get To Know More About Grater


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A grater is a kitchen tool with raised edges used for grating foods including cheese and vegetables. The most common type of grater has a metal surface containing small sharp holes and a handle to hold. The food is pressed onto the grater and manually scraped across the holes; this is known as the “grating” process.

Other kitchen graters include a box shape and are called box graters. These types of graters are used for grating various hard foods such as ginger and nutmeg. A third variety is the rotary cheese grater, which has a hand-cranked circular metal blade for grating. The rotary grater is commonly used to grate cheese and chocolate.

Graters can be made from several materials including metal, plastic, ceramic, and even corundum. The material often determines the strength and durability of the kitchen utensil. 

The food type will determine the best grater material to use. Food with a tougher texture like carrots can be grated with a metal or plastic grater. Food with a softer texture like cheese requires a more durable material like metal to grind more delicately.  

Metal graters will last twice as long as plastic graters because plastic graters tend to warp material from high usage over time. Although metal graters will last longer they are more prone to scratches as compared to a plastic grater. 

The history of graters can be traced back to the 16th century. François Boullier of France and Isaac Hunt of England both claimed to invent the cheese grater in the 1540s.

What is the ideal material for a grater?

The ideal material for a grater is steel. Steel graters have great longevity and the blades for grating remain sharp and can be sharpened. The material for kitchen graters is important for three reasons: food type, health safety and durability. 

A cooking grater is typically made from metal because the rougher surface allows chefs to grate tougher food items such as hard cheese and vegetables. The downside of using a metal grater is that it may disfigure certain foods because the blades are harder, requiring more caution when in use.

Metal graters are often used for citrus zest or chocolate, where the desired outcome will result in smaller food pieces. Two popular metal grates are the edge grater and the box grater. These tend to have rougher surfaces with longlasting blades. The edge grater and box graters are good for grating herbs such as nutmeg and ginger which require a harder surface. 

Cooks concerned with health will evaluate grater material carefully.  For example, plastic graters might disintegrate into the food which may accidently be ingested. And cheap metal graters might rust over time when exposed to moisture and lead to contaminated food. 

The food type, safety and durability affect the price of a grater. A fine metal grater is more expensive than its plastic counterparts. A cooker should consider these three important factors before purchasing a grater. 

What are the types of grater?

The types of graters are as follows.

  • Cheese graters: These are made from metal and have a perforated surface with sharp holes. Cheese is rubbed along the surface to produce fine shreds of cheese. Stainless steel is the material of preference for this instrument.
  • Vegetable Grater: This consists of a flat, round or square perforated metal disk with one or more handles attached to the underside. They are very versatile and can be used to grate not only vegetables but also roots, parmesan cheeses, chocolate, or nuts. 
  • Garlic Graters: These consist of a perforated metal sheet that is pressed over peeled garlic cloves to remove small bits of garlic.
  • Slicer: This grating instrument consists of a blade that is pressed over food to create thin, even slices. It may be handheld or designed with the blades below the base, allowing it to rest on top of containers when in use. The slicer is good for thinly slicing vegetables such as cucumbers or potatoes.
  • Zesters: This instrument is used for finely grating citrus fruits such as lemons or limes. It consists of a blade or a perforated metal sheet. The citrus fruit is drawn along the blade and it removes the fragrant zest from its peel in long thin strands.

What is the ideal size for a grater?

The ideal size for a grater depends on the type of food. The smallest size grater is required for soft items such as spices and garlic cloves. The size of this small grater makes it comfortable to be held in the cook’s hand; food is drawn across the round or square perforated to create fine pieces. 

If you need to grate a large amount of cheese or vegetables, a bigger grater is preferred. Larger graters have a flat surface and can grate significant quantities in a short period of time.

Cooks preparing food for large parties will need a professional grater. These graters have 4 sides with different kinds of blades for fine, medium, and coarse grating.

So what size grater do I need? This depends on what you plan to grate. The more food you intend to grate, the larger your grater will need to be. For less than 5 pounds of food a small to medium size manual grater will suffice. For 5 pounds of food or more a large size grater is better. For amounts of food greater than 12 pounds you might consider getting an automatic or electric grater. 

What are the use cases of a grater?

A use case of a grater can be defined as a specific way of using a grater to prepare food. 

The use cases of a grater are as follows:

  • Grating cheese for toppings or garnishing food items.
  • Creating ginger, nutmeg, or chocolate powder by finely grating the desired spices.
  • Creating citrus zest by removing the fragrant outer layer from citrus fruits such as lemon and lime.
  • Grating fresh, fluffy parmesan cheese by using a fine grater.
  • Creating fresh ginger or nutmeg which is required for soups, stews, and other dishes.
  • Grating garlic or ginger to add flavor to a curry sauce.
  • Grating vegetables such as carrots, beetroots, and potatoes for stews and soups.

Can you use a grater as a rotary?

Yes, you can use a grater as a rotary. One specific type of grater is the rotary where a handle is attached to a grater with a rotary design.

Food such as cheese or vegetables is placed inside the rotary device and the handle is turned repeatedly. Using a rotary grater requires a fair bit of manual effort. The rotary grater provides a large surface area so it is possible to grate large quantities of food at once.

Can you use a grater for cheese?

Yes, you can use a grater for cheese. Cheese is typically put over food items as a garnish or topping. There are many types of cheese graters that you can choose from to shred the cheese.

The simplest types of cheese graters are handheld which you can use to grate small amounts of cheese or for grating spices such as garlic, ginger, or nutmeg. Other types of cheese graters are designed with a flat surface for grating larger amounts at a time.

What are grater brands?

The best grater brands right now are the following:

  • Best Overall and Best Box Grater: Microplane Rotary Cheese Grater
  • Best Value: OXO Etched Box Grater
  • Easiest to Clean: OXO Etched Coarse Grater
  • Best for Zesting: Cuisinart Box Grater
  • Best Rotary Grater: Zyliss SmoothGlide Dual Grater

What is the lifespan of a grater?

The typical lifespan of a grater is 3 to 5 years. However, this depends on the frequency of use and how well it is maintained. If you clean your grater regularly then your grater with have greater longevity.  

The factors that affect the lifespan of a grater are as follows:

  • Frequency of use: The more you use your grater, the more it will wear out. This is because the blades become blunt over time and performance will decline.
  • Material Selection: The build quality of your grater is important for how long it lasts. Cheaper graters made from poor quality material will not last as long as higher-end models.
  • Maintenance: If you clean your grater regularly then it will last longer. Over time, grime and food particles build up on the blades which can lead to rusting or other damage.

The cost of a good quality grater range from $20 to $100+ and will increase based on the quality of material, brand name, and whether the grater is electric or manual.

Get to know about grater

What is the history of grater?

The history of grater dates back to 1540 where François Boullier of France and Isaac Hunt of England were both credited with the initial creation ofe grater thegrater. 

The modern style of box graters appeared in the 19th century along with many other kitchen appliances. The Microplane grater that we see today is a modern device that was invented in 1990 and is an evolution of the traditional graters. Originally created as a woodworking design, the usefulness of the Microplane grater was soon realized by cooks and adapted for cooking.

Which culture uses the grater the most?

The culture that uses the grater the most is the Danish. As the world's biggest consumers of cheese, the grater usage in Denmark is the highest in the world.

After Denmark, the list of cultures using the grater the most are as follows: Iceland, Finland, France, and Cyprus. The cultures using the grater the least are Zimbabwe, Niger, and Angola. 

What are the relevant kitchen tools to grater?

The most relevant kitchen tools connected to the grater include:

  • A sharp knife: The grater will help you save time by shredding food quickly but if you want an even result then it helps to use a sharp knife first.
  • A cutting board: This will be used to lay out your food before shredding it. Make sure the surface is dry and free of dirt or debris 
  • A trash receptacle: Some food will fall whilst shredding so have a place where you can throw your scraps away afterward.
  • A measuring cup: This is useful if you are preparing food and need to measure out how much you are using or just want more control over portions.
  • A set of tongs: This is useful for holding food in place as you shred it.
  • A bowl: The grater can be used to create thin slices of vegetables and fruit which can then be stored in a bowl while being prepared for cooking afterward.
  • A colander or strainer: This will help you drain excess liquid from foods like cheese and cucumbers which would otherwise cause a mess.
  • A spoon or spatula: This will be used to help push food through the grater and catch any which falls off.

What is the primary difference between grater and zester?

The primary difference between grater and zester is that a zester has a smaller surface area. This means that you will be able to grate less food at once and create finer food particles. 

A zester is typically used with lemons and other citrus fruits. The zester is typically made of stainless steel while the grater may have plastic or metal handles which can lead to rusting if not cleaned properly.

What are the features of a good grater?

The features of a good grater include the following:

  • Large surface area: This is important for anyone preparing food in bulk amounts like restaurants and cafes.
  • Non-slip handle and protective cover: These features can also be useful for smaller graters as they prevent them from slipping out of your hands while you shred food and protect your fingers from cuts
  • Easy to clean: An important factor for any kitchen appliance including a grater, make sure you choose a grater that is dishwasher safe or easy to clean with soap and water after use.
  • Reasonable price: You don't need to spend a fortune on a good grater, but knowing the costs of different models can help you make an informed decision.
  • Good safety rating: Food-safe plastic is sufficient for most uses but metal and ceramic materials may be preferred if you plan on using your grater regularly.

What are the parts of a grater?

The parts of a grater include the following: 

  • Handle: This is where you hold the grater and rotate it to grate and slice food.
  • Body: The body of a grater is usually made from plastic but some models have metal surfaces that require more care when looking after them.
  • Top blade/plane: This is the part that cuts through food.
  • Bottom blade/plane: This is the part that catches grated food.

What is the difference between a grater and a rotary?

The difference between a grater and a rotary is that the rotary is turned at a slow speed to grate food while a grater can be used quickly to shred or slice vegetables. A grater can have two surfaces whilst a rotary grater has just one.

How did grater get its name?

The grater is its name from the old French word grateor, which refers to people that used to furnish. This could be someone like a sword cutler, who finished sword blades and similar weapons.

To pronounce grater say: gray·tuh. Whilst this might look strange in writing, it is a very accurate pronunciation.

What is another word for grater?

Another word for grater is a chopper. Some also call a grater a shredder, slicer, or even a vegetable slicer.

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