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Zassenhaus Cast-Iron Mortar and Pestle Three-Piece Set $37.95

Cast iron is a nearly indestructible material that's ideal for grinding foods.

Its coarse surface creates more friction to release aromatic compounds from spices and herbs and achieve a finer texture. And smart design details make this set especially effective: The pestle that comes with the mortar has a thinner handle that's easier to grip, with a knob near the handle that keeps it from slipping out of your hand. There is a heavier knob at the other end with a wider surface area, which directs force more effectively onto spices so you don't need to exert as much energy.

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HOW TO USE

This 4-inch mortar and pestle come with a matching cast-iron bowl that's especially handy if you're making spice blends: Crush one type of spice at a time and decant into the bowl. It's the perfect size for everyday small jobs like crushing whole black peppercorns or dried chilies. We also like to use the bowl for serving spiced salt blends at the table.

Kitchen Notes

If grinding wet, acidic ingredients, be sure to thoroughly clean your mortar an pestle when done. As with any cast iron equipment, acids can react with the metal if allowed to linger.

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