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.
Mortars and pestles are ancient tools that have been around for millennia, with the earliest ones found dating back to 35,000 BC. In the Bible, Exodus 16:13-21 and Numbers 11:8 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 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 another mortar and pestle that’s made of marble, but it’s more of a decorative object that doesn’t do the job this one can.
Use the Cooler Kitchen EZ-Grip 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 people and pets; or muddling and mixing ingredients for flavoring drinks.
The Cooler Kitchen EZ-Grip‘s apothecary-grade porcelain material is strong, hefty, 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 problems 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 food-grade black silicone base, the Cooler Kitchen EZ-Grip won’t slip and slide around while you’re using it, nor will it scratch up your shiny countertop. The silicone base 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 weighty so 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 unsure 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 without cracking. 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 turned out to be larger and heavier than I expected, which makes it a good value for the price. (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 classic black and white design of the Cooler Kitchen EZ-Grip blends in with any kitchen decor and can be left out on the counter as a stylish but practical accessory. Handy and convenient to use, it’s a perfect example of “form follows function.” Another nice touch is that this mortar and pestle set comes in an attractive 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.