Through the ages, the mortar and pestle has been used for hundreds of purposes from cooking to pharmacy, and it is a tool that no modern kitchen, laboratory, or classroom should be without. A mortar and pestle is the perfect balance of strong and gentle to prepare even the tiniest portion of an ingredient.
The mortar and pestle is an ancient tool that’s been around for millennia, with the earliest ones found dating back to 35,000 BC. Exodus 16:13-21 and Numbers 11:8 both describe how the wandering Israelites would gather manna from heaven. The manna could be ground in a hand mill or beaten in a mortar, and was then made into loaves or cakes and baked.
One Egyptian medical text dating back to 1550 BC describes doctors using mortars and pestles to make tincture and ointments, and there is evidence that shows Italian apothecaries used them in the 14th and 15th centuries. The finest olive oil was also obtained by beating the olives in a mortar with a pestle.
To this day, hand grinding is what gives pesto sauce and curry paste that distinctive breadth and depth of flavor that you won’t find if you’re prepping ingredients with a food processor. Crushing the fibers of herbs, as opposed to chopping through them, releases the full range of hidden essential oils, flavors and aromatics that they contain.
Review by Tab Olsen
The Cooler Kitchen EZ-Grip mortar and pestle set is functional, versatile, and heavy duty. The pestle itself is large and hefty, while the mortar is sturdy and built to last. I was impressed with how well this mortar and pestle actually works. We have a smaller marble one, but it’s more of a decorative object that doesn’t do the job this one can.
Use it for: science experiments; pounding chemicals into fine powders; grinding herbs, spices, grains, nuts, roots, coffee and teas; smashing garlic cloves; crumbling crackers and tortilla chips; preparing homemade bread crumbs; making powdered sugar out of granulated sugar; mashing baby food; crushing ice cubes; pulverizing medications for pets and humans alike; or muddling and mixing ingredients for flavoring drinks.
The apothecary-grade porcelain material is strong and non-porous so it won’t absorb odors or flavors. The unglazed interior finish provides a good grinding surface and will never flake or chip. Consider these common issues with other materials: wood absorbs the taste of the previous grind (yuck!), marble or granite flecks can break off (I don’t think you want to eat that!), ceramic can chip, enamel can wear down, and stainless steel can rust or scratch.
With a detachable nonslip silicone base, the Cooler Kitchen EZ-Grip won’t slip and slide around while you’re using it. The food grade black silicone won’t scratch up your shiny countertop, either, and it also helps to muffle the sound when you’re using the mortar and pestle on a hard surface.
The Cooler Kitchen EZ-Grip has an oversized pestle with a silicon handle. This provides a comfortable firm grip that won’t slip out of your hand, making it suitable for use by children (with adult supervision), and older users with arthritis. It’s ergonomically shaped and heavy enough that it practically does all the work for you without requiring too much effort. On my first try, I smashed a Tylenol pill to smithereens with one fell swoop!
Don’t Worry About the Negative Amazon Reviews
When I was searching for a mortar and pestle on Amazon, I was a little reluctant about buying the Cooler Kitchen EZ-Grip because so many reviewers said that it broke. But I really liked the look of this one, as well as the porcelain material and the silicone base, so I took a chance. Well, you don’t have to worry, because the model they’re selling now is a redesigned version that can be struck repeatedly with great force without breaking. When we first got ours, we used it for pounding rock-hard frozen-solid ice cubes to make crushed ice. So from our experience, this one can withstand a lot of pressure and it’s not going to break from everyday use.
The Cooler Kitchen EZ-Grip is larger and heavier than I expected, which makes it a good value for the money. (The mortar is 4.5 inches wide by 3.25 inches tall, weighs almost 3 pounds, and holds 8 oz. The pestle itself is 5.5 inches long.) The mortar and pestle is dishwasher safe, but it’s also easy to wipe clean with a damp cloth, rinse under the faucet, or wash in the sink with some soap and water.
The Cooler Kitchen EZ-Grip has an attractive black and white design, which adds a touch of flair to any décor. Handy and convenient to use, it’s a perfect example of “form follows function.” The mortar and pestle can be left out on the counter or put on a shelf as an eye-catching but practical decoration. Another good thing about this mortar and pestle set is that it comes in a nice gift box for giving as a housewarming present or as a cute gift for your favorite herbalist, pharmacist, chemist, or culinary artist.
Please note: The above product was NOT provided for free or at a discount in exchange for a review. This item was purchased by a homeschooling family at their own expense.