Conflicting info for mortar and pestle care?

The friendliest place on the web for anyone that enjoys cooking.
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.

BAPyessir6

Senior Cook
Joined
May 15, 2020
Messages
164
Location
Prior Lake
I am going to buy a granite mortar and pestle soon, but I find people have opposing views on how to care for it:

1. Many people say to use just water to clean the granite mortar after use (as soap can leave a soapy taste), while others swear by soapy water and an extra rinse.

2. People say to grind dry rice into the granite pestle before each use (to remove rock particles?) but others say do this monthly.

3. People say, upon getting your granite mortar and pestle, to soak it in water for an hour and grind rice into it (to remove rock particles), while others say to rinse it then grind garlic salt into it.

I don't wanna ruin my mortar and pestle by using the wrong info potentially, so advice would be great!

Also, how much worry is there of rock particles getting into the food you grind?
 
I use an Asian style m+p which is wooden, but generally most kitchens use a stone version.
The tips I would give are as follows:

1: If you don’t need to use soapy water to get your m+p clean then don’t. If you wash it out carefully after using soap then you won’t get the soapy flavour.

2: No need to grind rice before each use, but monthly is about right. Just use your judgement - if you’re pounding hard flavours (garlic, mustard seeds and other whole spices etc) on a regular basis, then you’ll use the rice grinder method to capture unwanted flavours from the mortar.

3: Definitely soak your m+p before first use. Make sure it is completely dry before grinding rice into it to avoid any stone particles entering your food. This is more preventative than outright required - most m+p’s come fairly well worked over to ensure very little stone damage, but it’s still important to give it some love.

Just my experience, however, and I guess I’m adding myself to your list of “people say” 😉
 
Last edited:
This falls a bit into the same category as "how do I clean my cast iron".
I would say, first time, clean with hot water, dry thoroughly, then grind rice in it and throw out the rice.
Thereafter, start using.
I only clean with hot water, no soap, but I clean quickly after use.
If you let it stand, you might need soap. Then just rinse thoroughly thereafter.

Now, if you use it like me, a lot for garlic & chili's and you would want to use it for someone real sensitive to those, then I would give it a thorough clean, possibly with soap, dry and grind dry rice again before using.
 
Mine is made of marble. I generally just wipe it out with a damp paper towel. I normally just use it for grinding dry things, like peppercorns, it doesn't take much to get it clean.

CD
 
I have several mortar and pestle sets, and have done a couple of unusual things with them that has helped out with them. The two I use the most are the Thai granite one, and the other, which I use the most, and grinds things up the fastest, is the Mexican Molcajete, which is made of a coarse basalt. Here is a previous post on this subject:

I also used the food grade polyurethane to seal the granite mortar, though it didn't absorb as much, and the deep stone mortar, I use for som tum, which was a little more absorbent, but not as much as the molcajete.

And here's a photo, showing the "feet" on both of these, with the silicone, which keeps them from sliding on, as well as scratching, any surfaces.
Silicone feet on molcajete, and silicone pad on granite mortar. by pepperhead212, on Flickr
 
Last edited:
I have several mortar and pestle sets, and have done a couple of unusual things with them that has helped out with them. The two I use the most are the Thai granite one, and the other, which I use the most, and grinds things up the fastest, is the Mexican Molcajete, which is made of a coarse basalt. Here is a previous post on this subject:

And here's a photo, showing the "feet" on both of these, with the silicone, which keeps them from sliding on, as well as scratching, any surfaces.
Silicone feet on molcajete, and silicone pad on granite mortar. by pepperhead212, on Flickr

A Molcajete is very coarse. That would be harder to clean. They are very common here in Texas, but I don't have one. My marble mortar and pestle is very smooth, so it is pretty easy to clean.

To be honest, for most things that call for a mortar and pestle, I use my Cuisinart mini food processor, or the Krups coffee grinder I bought to use as a spice grinder.

CD
 
That molcajete isn't really hard to clean, but then, as I noted, mine is sealed, and the pestle I often put in my DW - the mortar could be, but I always do that by hand. With that seal, the strong aromas - like garlic - wash out better than if not sealed! :LOL:
 
This is mine 🫠

IMG_0250.jpeg
 
I have a marble P&M (which I just wash like any of my other dishes). It's okay for grinding dry spices, but absolutely hopeless for garlic. (Or any dried leaves.)
 
I have a marble P&M (which I just wash like any of my other dishes). It's okay for grinding dry spices, but absolutely hopeless for garlic. (Or any dried leaves.)
I have a marble mortar and pestle too. I only bother grinding garlic if I can use coarse salt to help it break down. Salt with the garlic, especially coarse salt, makes a huge difference.
 
I don't mind fine mincing garlic but I won't grind it with salt. Nor do I ever put them in a motor n pestle. Use mine ( have 5 of them) almost exclusively for herbs and spices. And oft times eggshells that go to the compost.
 
I don't mind fine mincing garlic but I won't grind it with salt. Nor do I ever put them in a motor n pestle. Use mine ( have 5 of them) almost exclusively for herbs and spices. And oft times eggshells that go to the compost.
I tried that with egg shells. I was trying for powder. I gave up at coarse sand.
 
I don't mind fine mincing garlic but I won't grind it with salt. Nor do I ever put them in a motor n pestle. Use mine ( have 5 of them) almost exclusively for herbs and spices. And oft times eggshells that go to the compost.
Does grinding the garlic with salt do something harmful to the pestle? Or is it just extra work?
 
I don't mind fine mincing garlic but I won't grind it with salt. Nor do I ever put them in a motor n pestle. Use mine ( have 5 of them) almost exclusively for herbs and spices. And oft times eggshells that go to the compost.
Glad to find someone else with 5 mortar & pestles :)
(Plus 2 wooden ones).

I do grind garlic in my coarse one all the time, sometimes using salt, sometimes not.
 
I tried that with egg shells. I was trying for powder. I gave up at coarse sand.
I'm only grinding them to coarse chunks right now for the garden compost because calcium is not very soluble.
On the farm I did them a bit finer for the chickens. They had the most wonderful shells. Great for carving.
I once threw them in the blender... don't do it, especially if it's plastic.
 
Back
Top Bottom