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This mortar and pestle set from German company Zassenhaus is durable, efficient and easy to use, with ergonomic handles and convenient pour spouts for less mess. The nearly indestructible cast iron is ideal for grinding foods, as its coarse surface creates more friction to release aromatic compounds from spices and herbs and achieve a finer texture. And because the mortar is made from a single piece of metal, it can be cleaned more easily and thoroughly than stone models. We also like that it's lightweight and more practical for daily use than cumbersome granite. And because it's thinner, both the sides and edge of the mortar are easier to grip while in use, for quicker, more effective grinding.
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. And the mortars also feature helpful pouring spouts to direct spices into a bowl or pan, not all over your kitchen counter—it's a subtle addition that makes a world of difference. To clean your mortar and pestle, we recommend using a damp cloth and avoiding dish soap, as with any cast-iron cookware.
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.
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