04.Types of graters
Graters are nifty gadgets no kitchen should be without. They can help you just as much with preparing the ingredients for an elaborate meal as with perfecting the finishing touches.
- A grater with a coarse blade is ideal for grating apples for pie or chocolate for dessert.
- One with a fine blade grates parmesan for pasta or ginger for curry.
- A slicing blade lets you create even slices of cucumber for salad or potato for bakes, and with the prickly-looking grinding blade you can grind citrus peel for a tart or spices like nutmeg.
But how many graters do you need for all those tasks? Is an all-purpose grater with multiple blades all you need, or are is it you better to have individual ones for specific jobs?
Which type suits you?
Hard cheese graters are conveniently sized and fit neatly into your hand. They’re designed for use at the table and let you grate hard cheese such as parmesan either into an attached container or straight over your meal as you need it. Because of their fairly fine grating blade, they’re less suitable for softer cheese like cheddar, which could easily clog the blade.
All-purpose box graters are the most versatile and the type you’d use for grating larger quantities of food if you have no food processor or can’t be bothered assembling and then washing it. They have at least two (though often four) large surfaces, with a number of different grating blades in the one utensil for grating coarsely and finely, slicing and grinding. Some come with an attached storage container to grate the food into; others have a base for that purpose or simply collect the grated food in the middle while you rest them on a cutting board or benchtop.
Flat graters are ideal for grating smaller quantities of food while cooking — just a little parmesan into the risotto, for example, or a bit of garlic and ginger into the stir-fry. They’re generally pretty lightweight, easy to hold and to clean, and take up little room in a utensils drawer.
Rotary graters tend to be fiddly to assemble and to clean but are convenient for grating nuts, spices or pieces of chocolate, because you don’t have to risk your fingertips while grating — these foods (and pieces of hard cheese like parmesan) fit easily into their small cavity where they're firmly held in place.
Grating food requires the same degree of caution as cutting meat, filleting fish or any other food preparation work that involves a sharp implement. The razor-sharp, two-way grating blades — especially on the CUISIPRO ACCUTEC and MICROPLANE flat graters, which claim to shave food rather than ripping and shredding it apart — can easily shave the top off your knuckles too, if you’re careless or grate slippery food right down to the end.
So take care when grating — for some flat graters you can buy a protective cover or grating guard.