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A stainless steel hand grater is not the only type of grater. There are other materials used to make graters besides stainless steel. Graters are made from plastic and wood too. In addition to the grater material, there are different shapes of graters such as box graters, hand graters, electric graters, microplane graters and more. The materials and shape play an important role in deciding what type of grater is needed for your kitchen.
For example, a plastic grater works for foods with medium to soft firmness such as cheese and chocolate since a plastic grater will not mark the food’s surface. A wood grater works well for foods with medium firmness like onions or cauliflower but should be avoided with firmer foods like nuts or carrots since small wood pieces can break off into the food. And a stainless steel grater works for foods of all firmness levels since the steel material is sharp and durable enough to grate any food.
Choosing the right material for your grater depends on the type of food you will be grating, how often you will grate, and what your preferences are.
What different types are available for a grater?
Grater types are categorized as a kitchen tool with a perforated surface and sharp edges. Standard graters will have multiple holes of different shapes and sizes. The shape is flat with one side more coarse than the other for shredding foods into smaller pieces or strips. There are many types of graters made to perform specific tasks. Each grater type will vary in design compared to the standard grater form. Certain grater types include multi-purpose tools that combine multiple functions into one kitchen device.
The following are the types of graters available on the market:
- Hand grater: Equipped with a handle and flat metal surface; a handheld food grater usually has one large compartment for catching the pieces that it cuts off.
- Box grater: Equipped with four sides, each with a different type of perforated holes: fine (used as a cheese grater or chocolate grater), medium (used as a vegetable greater), coarse (used to grate cheese), and shredding disk. A box grater can be used as a substitute for all types of graters.
- Microplane Graters: Equipped like zesters but will feature narrow slots instead of studs for finer results. Also known as rasps, they are commonly used for chocolate and nutmeg.
- Zester: A kitchen utensil used for removing the zest from citrus fruit. The tool is made of a handle with a flat surface that has grooves on it, attached to a metalhead that contains holes.
- Grater Plates: Used to grate paneer or vegetables such as ginger and carrots for dishes such as korma, bhuna, and masala. Has small sharp blades which can be removed for easy cleaning.
- Potato Ricer: Grate whole potatoes into fluffy pieces in seconds by inserting them inside the device's hopper and squeezing down on its plunger slowly till every piece is forced out through tiny perforated holes under pressure. This tool can also be used interchangeably as a food mill which comes with interchangeable discs of different sizes.
- Plastic graters: These are also effective but they are not good for shredding hard cheese or chocolate.
- Wooden graters: more difficult to maintain than other types, as you will need to wash them by hand after each use. Also, avoid those with deep grooves as they might catch food particles that would be hard to remove later on.
- Electric graters: Electric graters are not very common, as they are much more expensive than the other types of graters. If you have an electric mixer or blender you can use them to grate your foods for you.
- Kitchen tool grater: A kitchen tool grater features a set of interchangeable blades with various types of perforations for different tasks. This type is large and can be left on the counter to save space in your drawers, but you will need to clean them by hand after each use as they cannot be submerged in water.
What are the different ways to use a grater?
There are at least 3 ways to use a grater. Three different ways to use a grater include zesting which is used for removing the zest from citrus fruit; fonduing which is a way to melt cheese used as a dip; and dicing which is cutting food into small pieces. Apart from this, grating is used for foods such as chocolate, nutmeg, and cheese. Another way to use a grater is to cut vegetables into thin shreds, which is known as julienning. While the grating tools required may vary by recipe, the cook can easily substitute graters depending on the final presentation required for the dish.
What sizes do the graters come in?
Graters come in small sizes for the home kitchens and large sizes for commercial kitchens. The size of a grater impacts the final outcome of the food. For example, small size graters such as zesters range in size close to 15 x 2.13 x 1.42 inches. Medium size grater are around 11.75 x 0.75 x 3.5 inches. Larger box graters can be approximately 9.88 x 5.59 x 5 inches on average. And electric graters can range in size close to 11 x 8.9 x 4.2 inches.
The dimensions of a grater are important but so is the radius of the holes. The holes affect how fine or coarse the food will end up after the grating process. If the cook uses a grater for hard cheese, then selecting a box type grater with medium-sized holes is effective for shredding raw vegetables such as carrots and zucchini without pulverizing them entirely.
The handle design should be taken into consideration. The handle is built to be comfortable against your hand while having an easy grip. It should be able to stand freely on a flat surface while grating.
When it comes to size and usage, consider a zester if you need to make fine zest, a grater plate if you need flat pieces of mostly soft foods such as cheese or vegetables for soups, and a microplane rasp grater is easier at getting chocolate off the block.
For effortless cleaning, look for dishwasher-safe stainless steel or plastic graters.. Regardless of size, graters made from wood materials becomes more challenging to clean using water and soap because the food particulares get stuck inside the wood cracks.
What food can I prepare for different graters?
Food that can be prepared with a grater is defined as any food that can be sliced, grated or shredded. Some examples of food that are ideal to prepare using a grater are cheese which is used for fondue, chocolate chips which are made using the microplane rasp grater, nutmeg which is best prepared with a zester, and vegetables such as carrots and cabbage which can be cut into ribbons using a julienne slicer.
Different food that can be prepared with each grater type are listed below:
- Hand grater: The hand grater is great for foods such as cheese, vegetables, and chocolate. It can also be used for foods that are soft on the inside but require a bit of grating to get them into smaller pieces.
- Box Grater: The box grater is best for foods such as cheese, carrots, zucchini, and cucumbers. This grater type does not do well with harder foods such as potatoes or parsnips due to its serrated blades which are designed to cut softer items only.
- Microplane Rasp Grater: The Microplane rasp grater is ideal for hard substances while having an easy-grip handle. It has micro-sized holes that enable the user to grate ginger, garlic cloves, etc effortlessly.
- Zester: The zester is best for grating nutmeg and spices such as garlic, ginger, and cinnamon sticks. It also has a handle which makes it easy to apply some pressure when grating.
- Grater Plates: Grater plates are ideal for soft foods such as cheese, vegetables, and carrots. Food with hard interiors such as potatoes or parsnips can be difficult to grate using this type of grater due to its serrated blades that cut soft items only.
- Potato Ricer: Potato ricers are used to make the mashed potato and other soups like butternut squash soup more smooth and creamy while having fewer lumps unlike usual potatoes made from mashing them up. It works by extruding cooked vegetables through a perforated plate with small holes to form delicate, long, and even spaghetti-like strands.
- Plastic Graters: This type of grater is safe to use on soft vegetables. It is dishwasher-safe and has a non-slip base so it can stand stably on the kitchen countertop while in use.
- Wooden Graters: Wooden graters do not have an easy-grip handle like other types of kitchen utensils. They are best for coarsely grating vegetables such as potatoes which are then mixed with eggs to make potato pancakes or for adding texture to dishes like porridge.
What determines the best grater material?
The best grater material is determined by the food you intend to grate or slice. If you are looking for a grater that will work on both hard and soft foods, then look for one made out of stainless steel. It is stronger than plastic so it can handle tougher foods while having the same smooth surface as plastic ones which doesn't leave shreds of food stuck in its crevices.
On the other hand, if you are looking for a grater that will work well only with softer foods, then choose one made out of plastic. This type of grater has fine holes which makes it easy to grate cheese, vegetables, and chocolate.
A stainless steel grater can also be used to grate hard foods such as potatoes but the results may not be as satisfactory compared to using other types of graters.
If your objective is to have more control over your food while preparing them, then look for a wooden grater that enables you to “feel” the food better than other types of utensils especially when they are cold.
Are metal graters safe?
Yes, metal graters are safe because you can control how fine or coarse you want the food to be by applying more pressure when grating.
If you choose a grater made out of stainless steel, you should avoid using this grater on foods with hard interiors such as potatoes because it will shred the hard food instead of grating. Also important to note for safety concern, metal grater types may contain harmful chemicals like chromium and nickel which are best removed by soaking them in lukewarm water before using them to avoid getting these toxins into your food.
Compared to plastic graters and wooden graters, metal graters are not as safe due to their sharp blades. This can be dangerous especially when the chef accidentally cuts themself while trying to grate foods with hard interiors like potatoes or parsnips.
What is the average price for a grater?
The average price of a grater is between $10 to $40. A factor for this price range difference is whether the grater dishwasher-safe. Higher grater price points can mean that it has more features such as an enclosed storage space to keep the grating surface clean and safe from dust.
The average price for an electric grater ranges between $40 – $60. The average price for a microplane grater ranges between $15 to $25 while box graters cost around $20 to $30. A good ergonomic handle may be priced at around $10 and will not affect the performance of a grater.
What is the lifespan of different graters?
The lifespan of different graters is determined by the quality of the materials used to make them.
A plastic grater can last for 2-4 years depending on how frequently you use it and whether the grater has enclosed storage space or not.
Metal graters have longer lifespans than plastic graters because they are made from durable materials which can be sharpened using small metal files. However, if your blade starts collecting rust over time due to constant exposure to moisture, then you will need to buy a whole new one.
The most problematic part of a grater is its handle which may break if it is not made out of durable materials. A wooden handle can either be replaced or glued back together using crazy glue. Although certain handles are designed to be detachable so that they can easily be cleaned and dried after use.
How does grater material affect preparation?
Food preparation changes based on the type of grater that is being used. For example, micro plane graters work well for hard cheeses and chocolate while box graters are better for soft cheese and zesting lemons.
What effect does grater material have on taste?
When it comes to taste, the grater’s material does affect the taste of food. Assuming that no particles fall off into the food from broken pieces of the plastic grater or wooden grater, the food taste should remain unaffected by the grater. And assuming that rust does not develop on a metal grater and get grating into the food, the food taste should not be affected.
Is it better to use small or large graters in the kitchen?
Kitchen usability refers to the function and structure of kitchen utensils that make them easier to use. Small graters are popular because they are easy to store and can be used for a wider variety of food types than larger graters which only work well for softer and smaller pieces of food.
Kitchen usability varies with function. For example, larger graters are preferred to smaller graters in cuisines where grated food is required in larger quantities (such as Indian cuisine) because it is part of the cultural cooking style.
The material a tool is made of can also play a role in kitchen usability. For example, metal graters are more difficult to clean than plastic ones because they cannot be washed or immersed under running water to remove food leftovers.