A grater is an essential kitchen tool that can be used for grating many different types of foods. When grating, it is imperative to use a suitable grater for the kind of food you are grating. Other graters have additional sized holes, which cause them to grate through your food in a specific way. For example, if you want an excellent grated cheese or chocolate, then we recommend using a box grater with small-sized holes so that less air and texture will get into your product. This post covers how to use and clean the four most common types of kitchen graters:
- A side cutlery (or flat) grater.
- An apple peeler/corer/slicer (aka a grater with a handle).
- Graters with small holes.
- Graters with large holes.
How are kitchen graters used?
A grater is used to remove rough, sharp surfaces from foods like cheese and vegetables. It can also be used for grating chocolate or gingerbread cookie dough. Kitchen graters come in different shapes and sizes; some graters are flat with a side cutting edge that cuts through the food, while others have small holes which grate it finely by pushing it through.
You can grate carrots for carrot cake, to add to sprinkle over salads or to make tasty veggie side dishes. It would help if you also considered grating zucchini in your healthy pieces of bread and vegetable cakes.
Grating food allows you to cut a lot of prep work out of your kitchen repertoire. Potatoes can be grated as an easy way to start making hash browns, and garlic, ginger, and onions should be grated if you don’t want to chop them by hand. Whole nutmeg is often bought in its complete form with the grater attached, so grating the nutmeg will take seconds.
Grate ginger to reduce its zing and add it to your favorite teas; grated chocolate can be used in cakes or cookies for a unique flavor twist! It would help if you also grated cheese like Romano and Parmesan on top of pasta dishes for their signature salty taste.
This is the classic four-sided grater, which can be used for hard cheeses like Cheddar and Mozzarella. It also makes light work of slicing butter for biscuits or cutting vegetables such as cucumbers or carrots. The downside to a box grater is that it takes up more space than most other types.
How To Use 4 Different Sides Of Your Box Grater
If you’re not using your box grater correctly, it may be time to rethink the kitchen tool. If you only use one side of the box grater, you’re missing out on all three other handy sides that can do more than shred cheese.
If this bulky device is taking up valuable space in your kitchen, you should use it! If you have an unused or rusted-out grater taking up space in your junk drawer, bring it out to help with the dinner preparations. Perhaps by using a steel wool scrubbing session, it will regain its original state.
Use a box grater for a number of things, from slicing fresh spices to prepping cold blocks of butter for your baking projects.
Side 1: Thinly slice
This side of the box grater is often overlooked, but it can be your secret weapon for preparing vegetables. You can use this to slice veggies before roasting them (perfect for a beautifully presented ratatouille or crispy potato chips). For kale, broccoli, and other more challenging vegetables, you’ll want to go up a level by using the grater’s side grating holes.
Side 2: Finely grate
A grater with a side that looks like it is covered in many small, round, and pointy stars can be used to grate cheese- for light dusting when using nutmeg or cinnamon on food while cooking or zesting citrus fruits. This side of the grater is not finger-friendly, so use care or avoid this type altogether. Be sure to only press lightly with your grate and with citrus fruit. Remember just to zest the brightly colored skin before you start because the white pith beneath will turn bitter during grinding if touched too hard or often.
Side 3: Shred
Shredders are perfect for grating cheese into thin, even strips. These work well for rending soft cheeses like cheddar or mozzarella (and can also be used for topping salads with a firm cheese), and this side is ideal for breaking down garlic and ginger when cooking something like soup, stew, or stir-fry. Shredders also produce long shreds of carrots that would otherwise take quite some time and endless rounds of slicing to get to the same result. For carrot cake or chocolate zucchini muffins, veggie shredders are great at producing thin strings from vegetables like zucchini while ensuring uniformity in every single slice.
Side 4: The side you already love
This side of the box grater is probably one you see most often in your kitchen. It’s suitable for making shredded cheese, as well as vegetables like potatoes if you’re preparing any pancakes (or latkes). It’s helpful in shredding tomatoes to add to tomato sauce or even butter. This site can be beneficial when you forget to soften your butter before beginning a baking project because it can easily be shredded and incorporated with no worries about breaking apart into chunks.
One-sided paddle-style graters are an excellent choice if you only need to grate a small quantity of, say, for creating a soup or sauce. They eliminate the need for making little piles on your board (while also taking up less space).
In order to keep fingers safe, be careful not to grate towards the edge and slowly feed food into the grating area.
Rasp grater (Microplane)
Rasp graters are the perfect tool for grating citrus zest hard (or even chocolate) into thin, uniform threads. They work well on cheese and ginger as long as you don’t grate too much at once- if any grated bits get caught in between the teeth of your grater, they can be pretty challenging to remove.
While the rasp grater can also be used for zesting, it is most commonly used to grate aged hard cheeses like Parmesan. This type of grater has very sharp small holes, and its slender size makes it easy to maneuver around round citrus or uneven shapes.
A grating or slicing blade on a mandoline grater works as both a grater and slicer so that it can be used for recipes requiring finely diced vegetables, grated cheese, or thinly sliced potatoes. This type of grater is best reserved for small quantities because the blades are not safe to use around children (or anyone who might accidentally touch them). You can find grating blades in many different shapes on a mandoline grater, so finding one that fits your needs should be easy.
There are many different kitchen graters. One popular choice is a mandoline, which quickly slices fruits and vegetables into thin uniform pieces or matchsticks. A mandoline is a lifesaver when making potatoes au gratin, slicing potatoes for french fries, or apple chips because it cuts the time you’re in the kitchen by about 90%.
A grater with a rotary blade is best if you need to grate lots of cheese in one go. This type grinds the food against a metal bowl, and there are usually four different grating holes: large for coarse grating, medium for shredding vegetables like carrots or cabbage, small for zesting citrus fruits like oranges and limes, and grating small items like ginger or garlic.
A rotary grater is helpful in grating large quantities of cheese that you will later use in cooking (say to top a pizza) because it can save lots of time from manually grinding by hand – plus the clean-up process is minimal since everything stays contained inside the grater.
A grating blade on a spice grater is perfect for grating spices like nutmeg or cinnamon. The size of the grates can vary, and some models have different-sized holes, so you can choose to grate large or small quantities at once.
The most popular use for this type of grater is in baking: it’s excellent when grating ginger to make a pie crust or grating nutmeg and cinnamon for your holiday cookies.
How To Clean Graters
The grater should be cleaned after every use, but an easy way to make sure that it stays clean is by using a dishwasher. It’s also essential to keep the grater dry- you can use either hand wash or put it in the dishwasher with your dishes so long as it’s safe for metal and not plastic!
The difference between a grater and a zester
- Zesters are small with just a few round holes, specifically meant to get strips of zest from citrus fruits. They’re not graters- they don’t have the grating teeth that a grater has.
- Grater: Zesting citrus is one task a grater can take on, but there are many others which a zester would do better. While both produce small strips of the fruit, when you grate ginger with a food grater, you get more like the rice-like strands that come from a traditional zester.
- A grater is more significant than a zester, and it can grate or shred different types of foods like cheese, ginger, potatoes, carrots – anything you might need to use in cooking. A good grater will come with four additional holes so you can do different grating tasks at the same time.