Why Season Mortar And Pestle With Garlic? Find Out

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Why Season Mortar And Pestle With Garlic? Most people who own a mortar and pestle season it with spices like garlic in order to give it a nice smell, since it’s gonna be used in the kitchen to make savoury dishes, might as well get ahead of the curve and give it a little kick start seasoning.

However, if you’re thinking about getting one of these and you wanna get a hang of the intricacies involved, there is more to it than basic “aroma inclusion”, there are a bunch of other reasons for seasoning your mortar and pestle which I’ll get to in a minute.

The most popular mortar and pestle which gets this seasoning trick is “granite”, if you own one of these, then this is for you, if you don’t, you should. Check out ChefSofi EXTRA Large 8 Inch 5 Cup-Capacity Mortar and Pestle Set 

Let’s get it then—

Reasons why you should season your mortar and pestle with garlic

To make it non-stick

People season their mortar and pestle with garlic to make it silky smooth so when you use it to grind it does not allow the food substances to stick to the surface, the oils in garlic is what acts as the sort of lubricant for the mortar and pestle.

A similar concept is applied when you grease a pan or a baking tray to make it non-stick, the only difference is, garlic is used because it’s a versatile spice.

Trust me, you’re gonna want to grease your mortar and pestle because it gets very annoying when the spices you’re grinding keep sticking to the mortar.

To make it aromatic

Garlic is a special condiment or spice, whichever you’re used to, it makes food delicious and also has a unique flavorful aroma that takes your food up a couple of notches.

When you season your mortar and pestle with garlic, the smell gets infused in every crevice of the mortar and as you use it to prepare whatever food you want to cook, the aroma lingers in your spices which is awesome!

Therefore, if you love garlic in all your meals, then you should always season your mortar and pestle with them.

To clog pores

There are usually pores in granite mortar and pestle because, you know— it’s basically a stone. By clogging these pores, your dry spices can’t get stuck in them, and when these spices find their way into these pores, it tends to begin to break down the surface and make it crumble gradually. Garlic helps act as a buffer for these spices.

Garlic has antimicrobial properties

The most fascinating reason for the garlic application which resonates with me the most is the fact that the antimicrobial attributes of garlic are harnessed to help stave off bacteria from the mortar and pestle.

Bacteria usually thrives in humid and wet environments, and this applies to your mortar and pestle because, after each use, we tend to wash them, when you don’t dry it properly under direct sunlight, mould formation may begin to occur.

The garlic seasoning process helps reduce the risk, imbibing bacteria has some health risk, which includes but is not limited to Stomach upset.

Helps prevent grit and particles

Usually, when you purchase granite mortar and pestle, you have to “cure” them to remove all the dust and particles, to make them smooth.

Although this process is a bit labour-intensive, the results make it worth the stress because if you use it as is, you’d end up with spices full of tiny grits and pebbles, which isn’t ideal. Have you ever bitten into a stone in your food before? Not pleasant at all.

The curing and seasoning process helps prevent this, although you can use whichever fresh spice you like, there’s no written rule that it has to be garlic. Garlic just has its advantages over other spices which makes it most ideal.

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What happens if you don’t season mortar and pestle?

There will be specs of granite in your spice whenever you use it to grind, it isn’t ideal to use it as is, it isn’t safe in the sense that the impurities can be harmful to your health also, the taste of your food will be greatly affected when all your spices end up tasting like dust when you’re done using the mortar and pestle.

The process may be a bit tedious, but it is very necessary if you’re using granite mortar and pestle. You can outsource the task for a fee or get a wooden or steel mortar and pestles like the Samhita Handmade Acacia Wood Mortar and Pestle and the Bekith Stainless Steel Mortar and Pestle Set.

How to season Mortar and Pestle

If you own a granite mortar and pestle or you are thinking about getting one, know that you would have to cure and season it before it becomes fully functional, here’s how to do it.

Wash and rinse

The first when you get your new mortar and pestle would be to wash and rinse it off to get all the dust and impurities out of it, I mean, it’s a newly carved piece of stone, there are bound to be dust in it, however, never use soap when washing it, the soap smell will stay in the mortar and will hardly come off. Water and a sponge will suffice.

Put dry rice

Get some dry rice and put some of it in the mortar, just enough that it covers the base a little, don’t go filling it with rice. All you need is a little bit of it.

Grind until powder

Take the pestle and use it to grind the rice in the mortar, this part is when things get a bit hectic, keep pounding until the rice becomes a powder, make a circular motion in the mortar with the pestle to reach every surface area in it, you can optionally add some water to make it a paste.

Pour out ground rice and repeat the process

When it’s done, you’ll notice the rice which is supposed to be white, would be kind of dirty, those are particles from the mortar. Pour the rice, rinse the mortar and pestle, remember, no soap. Repeat the process.

Add garlic or spice of choice

After you’ve repeated the rice grinding process several times, by now your arms would probably be very sore, if your ground rice is now white then you’re on the right track and you’re ready to move on to the next step.

You will notice the surface of the mortar and pestle will be very much smoother than when you began. Now you add the fresh garlic alone or with any spice of your choice and grind until it becomes a paste, rinse and repeat the process a couple of times. Now your mortar and pestle should be ready to be used.


Why do you need mortar and pestle?

You need a mortar and pestle if you want to grind spices, it is also helpful when you don’t have a source of electricity to plug in your blender or spice grinder.

Some cuisines recipes insist you use a mortar and pestle to blend some spices or make pesto to make it more authentic. Plus, you get a free arm workout every time you use one of these, seems like a win-win to me.

Can granite mortar and pestle break?

It would take a great amount of force but yes, a granite mortar and pestle like most things can break if not handled properly.

For your own safety also, just because it hardly breaks does not mean you should keep it at the edge of your kitchen countertop carelessly for it to fall off, since it hardly breaks, you know something that breaks pretty easily? The human bones, especially the ones in your foot, be careful with these.

Can you put oil in a mortar and pestle?

Yes, you can, when grinding herbs to make pesto, it is traditionally included with a little bit of olive oil to make it into a cohesive paste. Remember to rinse it out and scrub it a bit with a sponge after you’re done to get the oil out as best as you can.

What is the best granite mortar and pestle to buy?

I honestly can’t speak for the best, as most I’ve used are very sturdy and get the job done, well, I say most like I’ve ploughed through dozens. When I used the Laevo Mortar and Pestle Set, found it to be very sturdy and was lightweight for a mortar and pestle that is made of granite.

Why Season Mortar And Pestle With Garlic – Conclusion

If you worry too much about the labour intensive process which curing and seasoning a mortar and pestle requires, it will make you miss out on the advantages of owning one of these, sometimes you just have to remember that the end justifies the means.

Season your mortar and pestle properly, and remember to take good care of it, just because it is sturdy does not mean you get to neglect it, since you use it to prepare food, it should always be clean and hygienic.