Saturday, February 17, 2007

Cleaning A Mortar & Pestle

Here are several possible methods of cleaning a mortar and pestle following use:

Contributed by Robin:

My recommendation would be to use bicarbonate of soda. If it is a wettable mortar, make it into a thick paste with water. Put this into the mortar and grind it around a bit with the pestle to cover both with a decent layer. Leave it for 20 minutes and rinse it out. If you still aren't happy, give the same treatment a go but add vinegar to rinse it out; it will foam in the coolest way, and between the vinegar and bicarb should get rid of the last of the flavour/smell. (maybe leaving it smelling like vinegar!)

Bicarb is just the very best thing for absorbing flavours and smells. I keep a cup of it in the fridge to absorb fridge smells and have used it with great success as a paste on plastic containers that have absorbed garlic smells.

Contributed by Saber:

One of the best methods of cleaning a brass mortar and pestle is to use half a lemon dipped in charcoal ash and gently rub all over the M & P and rinse in clean water. Dry after cleaning.

Contributed by Sara Kate:

If your mortar and pestle has an unglazed interior, the best way to clean it is to rinse it out and let it drip dry. If it is especially gunked up, you can use a hard brush to scrub, but I wouldn't even use soap because the porous nature of the ceramic will take on the scent/taste of the soap. For this reason, you only want to use your mortar and pestle to grind spices and herbs. I wouldn't mash any oils in there, for example.

Contributed by Scazza who disagrees with Sara kate regarding oils:

I have a suribatchi and it is made for grinding anything, including pastes that would have oil in it. I don't know any other way to make such a thing, even grinding garlic and salt into a paste (which would stink up your m&p). I also make pesto (since you need to pound, not cut, the greens to release the oils) and gucamole in my marble m&p.

My own contribution:

If one would like to sterilize one's mortar and pestle (those made of oven-safe materials) prior to use, after cleaning and rinsing thoroughly, cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

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