How To Season a Mortar and Pestle Properly

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In my opinion, mortar and pestles are kitchen essentials and can come in handy for people who can’t afford bulky electric kitchen equipment. An essential step in preparing your mortar and pestle for use is seasoning it. 

To season your mortar and pestle, rinse it, grind uncooked rice with some water, rinse it again, repeat this process a few times, and then air dry it. You can also use a variety of spices to season your mortar and pestle.

Seasoning your mortar and pestle is relatively easy. It is a process that has many upsides to it. This article will further elaborate on the significance of seasoning your mortar and pestle and explain how to carry out the procedure.

Why Is Seasoning Important?

Seasoning Mortar And Pestle
Seasoning Mortar And Pestle

When you buy a mortar and pestle made of granite, stone, or even a molcajete, it is essential to season it. This is because the stone’s porous surface may contain loose particles or grit. These tiny bits of stone, when subjected to a repeated pounding from the pestle against the mortar, can detach from the surface and enter your food.

Seasoning removes these loose pieces of stone and smoothens the surface of your mortar and pestle. This prevents any food particles from getting stuck in the perforations on the surface of your mortar and pestle. The smoother surface so formed becomes much easier to clean.

You can use different spices for the second step of the seasoning process. This not only gives the mortar and pestle a pleasant aroma but also clogs any pores that are still present on the surface after carrying out the first step of the procedure. It also makes the surface of the mortar and pestle non-stick.

How To Season Granite Mortar and Pestle

Granite Mortar and Pestle
Granite Mortar and Pestle

Granite mortar and pestles are considered to be one of the best types. This is because they are highly durable and their hardness and weight help make grinding easier. You can learn more about granite mortar and pestles here

However, one of their downsides is that they need to be seasoned before use. I will explain the reason behind this, as well as the steps involved, further below.

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Granite mortar and pestles have a lot of pores and perforations on their surfaces. This increases the possibility of your food getting contaminated if placed directly onto such a surface without seasoning it first. Therefore, seasoning a mortar and pestle made of granite before using it is essential, unlike in the case of one made of a metal alloy.

You need to follow several steps when seasoning a granite mortar and pestle. These are as follows:

Rinsing With Water

Since a granite mortar and pestle’s surface is initially rough, dust particles can easily settle onto it. To get rid of the dust stuck to the mortar and pestle, rinse it with water. However, you should never use soap since it can get trapped in the small holes on the mortar and pestle’s surface and enter your food. 

This is the first step in the seasoning process.

Grinding Rice in It

To get rid of any stone debris, grind raw, uncooked rice in the mortar and pestle, along with a bit of water. The logic behind this is that rice grains are abrasive in nature and hence help to get rid of excess texture or loose particles on the surface of the mortar and pestle.

To do this:

  1. Take a bit of uncooked rice (the quantity depends on the size of the mortar and pestle) and add it to the mortar.
  2. Add a little bit of water to the rice.
  3. Use the pestle to grind the rice until it forms a paste, taking it up the edges of the mortar.
  4. Keep doing this until the rice paste turns gray and murky. 
  5. Remove the paste from the mortar and repeat the process several times. You will know you are done with this step when the paste doesn’t change color, anymore i.e., it comes out white after you grind it thoroughly. This means there are no more free grit particles to get detached upon using the mortar and pestle.
  6. Once done with step 5, throw the paste away and rinse the mortar and pestle using water only. Leave it to air-dry completely.

Grinding Spices in It

Grinding Spice In Mortar and Pestle
Grinding Spice In Mortar and Pestle

Once the mortar and the pestle are dry, an additional step to carry out is seasoning it further using a variety of spices and aromatics. These include garlic cloves, peppercorns, salt, etc. 

Learn more about seasoning mortar and pestles using alliums and spices such as garlic and cumin here.

The purpose of this process is to further smoothen out the surface of the mortar and pestle using abrasives such as salt and clog the open pores using spices and alliums. It also helps impart a pleasant fragrance.

To do this:

  1. Grind the spices of your choice in the mortar. These, too, like the rice, must be taken up to the edges of the pestle. 
  2. Leave the mortar and pestle as it is for a while. 
  3. Rinse it out with water and repeat this step a couple of times.

Final Rinse

This is the final step. In this step, you will need to clean the mortar and pestle thoroughly using warm water, then leave it to dry completely. Only after doing this will you be ready to use your well-seasoned mortar and pestle.

Conclusion 

This article aims at helping you get to know more about the process of seasoning your mortar and pestle. It is done to prepare mortar and pestles made of stone, granite, and other similar materials so that they don’t inject harmful stuff into our food.

To carry out the procedure, you need to:

  1. Grind a bit of rice and some water in the mortar using the pestle until it turns dirty. 
  2. Rinse it off and repeat this technique until the rice comes out white. 

You can follow this up by seasoning it further with spices and aromatics.

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