If you are a great chef, not only do you need to cook delicious dishes, but you also need to take care of your kitchen tools so that they can serve you well. Such simple tasks like how to polish a knife or shine aluminum pans may be familiar to you already since you use these tools regularly.
But what about kitchen tools that are not so frequently used, like pestle or mortar? Have you learned the right way to clean them? If you are unprepared, let us guide you how to clean mortar and pestle properly in this article!
How To Clean Mortar And Pestle?
Pestle and mortar are made from many kinds of different materials. Contrary to your belief, pestle and mortar in different materials require different methods of cleaning. They cannot be cleaned by the same method, unfortunately.
So, the first thing you need to know before learning how to clean pestle and mortar is knowing what materials your pestle and mortar are.
This article divides pestle and mortar material into three kinds: rock mortar and pestle, glass/metal/ceramic, and wood. Identify what kind of pestle and mortar, and let’s go through the direction of how to clean a stone mortar and pestle first.
1. For stone-made mortar and pestle (marble, granite)
If you are using pestle and mortar made from marble, granite, or any stone material, follow these guides below on cleaning granite mortar and pestle:
Step 1: Let your mortar and pestle run through warm water.
Hold your pestle and mortar and run them under a warm faucet. Warm water is better for stone mortar and pestle care, but it’s perfectly fine if you only have cold water.
Manually use your hand to wipe off the dirt in the pestle and mortar instead of using a scourer since fabrication is not good for granite mortar and pestle care.
Once you finish cleaning marble mortar and pestle with water, use the kitchen towel to dry them thoroughly and hang them up for natural air dry.
Step 2: Once your pestle and mortar are completely dry, take two spoons of uncooked white rice and pour them into the mortar.
Use a pestle to gently grind the rice until the color turns from white to brown. Take out the discolored rice and repeat this procedure until you find the rice color remains white.
Step 3: Rinse the pestle and mortar one more time.
Rinse both tools in warm water one more time until all debris and dirt are removed. Place them on a drying rack for them to naturally dry. Before putting them into the closet, for marble mortar and pestle care, make sure there is no moisture left to prevent your pestle and mortar from being fusty with a bad odor.
And that’s how to clean granite mortar and pestle.
2. For glass/metal/ceramic mortar and pestle
If your pestle and mortar made from glass, metal or it is a ceramic mortar and pestle, then these cleaning guides below will be helpful:
Step 1: Rinse the pestle and mortar thoroughly with warm water
Run both tools under a warm faucet. You may use your hand to thoroughly remove big debris.
Step 2: Use a new scrub brush to scrub the pestle and mortar.
If you use an old brush, leftover debris and smell may attach to your tools, which is not recommended. That is why you should use a new and separated scrub brush to use for cleaning the pestle and mortar only.
Use your hands and the new scrub to gently wipe off the food debris out of the mortar and clean both tools using the scrub with some lightweight dishwasher.
Step 3: Rinse one more time to get the dirt and soap out of the mortar until you see no bubbles left.
Air dry them in a drying rack and wait for them to completely dry before putting them back in the drawer.
3. For wood mortar and pestle
Wood is an extremely dedicated material, so wooden mortar and pestle care requires more detailed steps. If you are using a wooden pestle and mortar, which is super high-quality, then you need to follow these instructions below to make sure you don’t ruin your precious kitchen tools:
Step 1: Remove the existing debris using dry towel paper.
Running wood material underwater is not recommended compared to the two methods above. It will take more time and effort for you to use a cloth to clean the debris only, but by the end, you will see the effectiveness of not using water in this first step.
Step 2: Once your tools are roughly clean by using a dry towel, continue to use a damp cloth at this time and wipe both of them.
Some moisture but not too much will make the wood material shine and eliminate the unseeable debris existing in the mortar and on the pestle. Be careful not to use too much water or forget to drain the cloth; too much water will cause the wood to mold.
Step 3: Before letting the wood pestle and mortar dry, apply 1-2 drops of mineral oil onto the tools, use your hands with gloves, and gently rub the pestle and mortar.
Mineral oil brings no color or taste to wood, but instead, the oil makes the wood stronger and shinier without spoiling the material.
Step 4: Let the wood mortar and pestle dry. Flip them over on a drying rack for them to dry naturally. Remember to only put them back in the drawer once they are completely dry.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I put oil in my mortar and pestle?
You should only put oil in pestle and mortar if you use wood material. Peanut oil and its substitutes like mineral oil, olive oil makes wood shinier without spoiling them or leaving any odor.
Still, the same effect cannot be guaranteed if you use different-material pestle and mortar. You can put oil while cleaning a mortar and pestle with different materials, but make sure to wipe out the excess oil so that it won’t stick and cause dampness and moisture to your tools.
What can I use if I don’t have a mortar and pestle?
There are many pestle and mortar substitute in the kitchen that you can play with if you don’t have these two tools on hand, such as:
- You can use a rolling pin to smash small seasoning vegetables like garlic, onion or smashing herbs. All you have to do is lay the ingredients on a chopping board and use a rolling pin to roll against them. Ensure to fix their position first before rolling so that they don’t spread around and become a mess.
- A combination between a non-glass bowl and hammer can substitute pestle and mortar. You can use a wooden bowl or a metal bowl, put the ingredients in it, and use a hammer (with proper cleaning beforehand) to smash the ingredients. Adjust the smashing power regularly to not make the food splashing messily around.
- Use a blender for moisture food types to smash them into a smooth extract. A blender may work even better than a mortar and pestle in some situations.
What is the difference between a molcajete and a mortar and pestle?
Comparing a molcajete and a pestle and mortar is equivalent to comparing a tea kettle vs. a teapot. A molcajete and a pestle and mortar are the same in smashing ingredients into powder or puree. However, a molcajete has three legs under it, influenced by the Mexcian traditional cuisine, making it the Mexican mortar and pestle. At the same time, pestle and mortar are narrower but shallower, making the grinding more effective. Mortar and pestle care is considered to be easier than molcajete care since molcajete cleaning requires more dedication due to its complex material and shape.
The Final Word
And that’s all the instructions we want to give on how to clean mortar and pestle. Depending on each material, you should use the right cleaning method to preserve your pestle and mortar being well-served in the future. Thank you for reading this article, and happy cleaning mortar and pestle!