Mortar and Pestle Wood vs. Stone – Detailed Comparison and Buying Guide

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The mortar and pestle are essential tools in school science laboratories, big-time research facilities, and the humble kitchen. The two most common materials they are made of are wood and stone.

Wooden and stone mortars and pestle have both proven their usefulness since ancient times. They each have advantages and disadvantages. Whichever of the two you should choose comes down to your preference regarding weight or considerations of how the smells and flavors adhere to the material.

Wondering which of these two types of mortar and pestle you should buy? This article will explore the differences between them so you can make an informed decision and get your money’s worth.

Are Wooden Mortar and Pestles and Stone Mortar and Pestles the Same?

Wooden mortar and pestles serve the same purpose as those made of stone, but they differ in the materials they are made from. This entails some considerations, especially for those cooks who use this ancient tool in their kitchens today. 

Both types of mortar and pestle have pros and cons you need to weigh when deciding which one would make the best tool in your culinary undertakings. They are as follows:

Wooden Mortar and Pestle

Pros

  • They are lighter in weight. Mortars and pestles made from wood are lighter than those made from stone. Some find it easier to work with more lightweight tools, and wooden mortars and pestles provide a convenient option.
  • They have porous surfaces. The porous surfaces of wooden mortars and pestles allow them to absorb the smells and flavors of the herbs and spices they crush and ground. These linger even after cleaning, which is ideal for some cooks. Mediterranean cooks, in particular, are known to favor olive wood for their mortars and pestles for this reason. The old, lingering flavors contribute to the spices of newer dishes they prepare.

Cons

  • They are lighter in weight. The lightness of wooden mortars and pestles is a double-edged sword. While it may have its advantage, it is also less stable than the heavier stone options. Moreover, less weight means less crushing and grinding pressure that you will have to compensate for with physical effort.
  • They have porous surfaces. Mediterranean cooks may like having old smells and flavors linger on their mortars and pestles. However, this isn’t practical for dishes in every cuisine. The flavors from some spices may not be suitable for certain preparations and would ruin the dish. It is recommended that you get a wooden mortar and pestle only if you use it for specific spices.
Naturally Med Olive Wood Rustic Mortar and Pestle
  • Handmade from Mediterranean olive wood
  • Rustic style
  • A very hard wood, great for grinding herbs and spices
  • Approx. diameter 4.7 inches, height varies

Stone Mortar and Pestle

Mortar and Pestle Set
Mortar and Pestle Set

Pros

  • They are heavier tools. The weight of stone mortars and pestles makes them ideal for crushing spices and herbs. They are more stable and often prove to be more efficient at this job than their wooden counterparts. However, it is important to note that the smooth surface of marble mortars and pestles makes them a bit less efficient at grinding than granite mortars and pestles, which have a more textured surface for better abrasion. 
  • They do not absorb smells and flavors. When properly cleaned, stone mortars and pestles do not absorb the odors of the ingredients crushed and ground in them. Therefore, you will not have to worry about the flavors from a previous dish’s spices seeping into a new preparation.

Cons

  • White marble may discolor. White marble has the tendency to discolor. The acids released from the crushed and ground ingredients make this even more so. The marble can end up taking on a yellowish or brownish color and give the impression of being dirty.
  • Some stone particles may be mixed with the ingredients. This applies more to granite mortar and pestles with their abrasive surfaces. As you grind away at your spices and herbs, you may inadvertently add little granite particles to your recipe.
Sale
Gorilla Grip Heavy Duty, Unpolished Granite Mortar and Pestle Set, Stone Grinder Bowl for Guacamole, Salsa, Herb Crusher, Grind and Crush Spices and Nuts to Release Flavor, Holds 1.5 Cup, Gray
  • Built Gorilla Grip Tough: the last mortar and pestle you will ever buy, the Gorilla Grip Mortar and Pestle is ultra durable and built tough; featuring a heavy duty grinding pestle that crushes and mashes ingredients effortlessly, the mortar and pestle is ultra durable, non porous and scratch resistant; its heavy base helps keep it in place and resist slipping and sliding, even while crushing the heaviest of ingredients
  • 100 Percent Natural Granite: Gorilla Grip granite is sourced from natural granite mines, then handcrafted with care; granite is cut, shaped and polished into the mortar and pestle; natural granite has been used for generations due to its natural durability and long lasting use; no more heavy mixers or food processors, this granite mortar and pestle takes the effort out of food prep while also helps release the natural flavors of the ingredients
  • Guacamole, spices, nuts, and more: not just for guacamole, the mortar and pestle is a great option for nearly any ingredient; crush up spices and herbs; create homemade pesto by grinding up nuts and seeds; serve up fresh dips; even a great choice for homemade dressings and salsas; impress your entire guest list with the tastiest dishes ever
  • Non Scratch Bottom: even though the mortar and pestle is heavy duty, it resists scratching countertops and surfaces; it features an optional foam bottom underside that helps protect surfaces, while also helping to prevent slipping and sliding while you prep
  • Large Capacity Mortar and Pestle is a Perfect Gift: this mortar and pestle holds up to 1.5 cups of ingredients and makes the perfect year round gift for anyone who enjoys cooking; beautifully designed so that it can be displayed on any countertop and add to the décor of the kitchen

Are Mortars and Pestles Still Useful?

Several different types of grinding machinery have been invented for use in the kitchen. However, most cooks and culinary experts have continued to make use of mortars and pestles as these tools, combined with manual effort, are more efficient at crushing and grinding than any machine that has emerged in recent years.

So regardless of whether you use a wooden or stone mortar and pestle, they’ll still get the job done for you! 

Conclusion

Mortars and pestles are useful tools regardless of the materials they are made from. But some particulars to wooden and stone mortars and pestles should be considered when choosing between the two.

However, the judgment as to which type is better depends on which is more convenient for you and what specific purpose you have for it. 

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