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When Is the Best Time to Use a Cheese Grater?

Cheese is a messy ingredient that tends to get mushed into cracks and crevices on graters. To prevent this, we recommend freezing large blocks of cheese (especially softer types such as mozzarella or cheddar) briefly before using it for better results.

A good cheese grater is also a handy tool for other tasks, such as shredding potatoes or zucchini for hash browns or finely zesting citrus fruits and spices like lemon, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

How to Use a Cheese Grater

Having an electric grater in the kitchen can save you time and effort when it comes to meal prep. Whether you want to shave some cheese for a pizza or shred some veggies into a salad, a grater can get the job done. The key is knowing when to use it and how to use it properly for best results.

Rather than trying to hold the grater in place with one hand and cut foods into it with the other, you’re much better off using both hands to gently press foods against the tool in a side-to-side motion. This helps prevent food from getting stuck, and it makes the entire process a lot easier on your wrists. Additionally, if you can, try to freeze soft ingredients such as cheese and butter before grating them, as this will make it less likely that they’ll stick.

To keep your grater clean, it’s essential to rinse it after each use. Cheese, in particular, tends to cling to and harden on the tool if left to sit for too long. Likewise, it’s helpful to spritz your tool with cooking spray before each use. This will help lubricate it and reduce friction between your hand and the grater’s surface, making it easier to get things off in a pinch.

In addition to cheese, a good quality grater can be used for vegetables, fruits, spices, and other items. For example, writer and cheese expert Christine Clark cites her grater as indispensable for shredding carrots and zucchini into fine shreds for soups and salads. She also recommends using the fine side of a grater to grate ginger or nutmeg.

If you’re looking for a versatile grater that can handle a variety of foods, check out this model from OXO. It features a sturdy stainless steel blade that can be turned on and off depending on your needs, and the nonslip footing on the base and container keeps the grater in place while you’re working. This grater also comes with two interchangeable slicing and shredding cones for versatility. For those with limited storage space, this model is a great option.

Preparing a Cheese Sauce

Having a tight grip on the cheese grater is important to prevent accidents. If the handle is slippery, it’s easy to slip and accidentally cut your finger while you grate. Look for a model that has a comfortable, nonslip handle when you’re shopping. Several models have a thumb rest and handle for added comfort. Another option for avoiding hand cramps while grating is to use a cheese plane, a flat-bladed utensil that looks like a carpenter’s plane but has a slot in the blade perpendicular to the handle and a cutting edge below it. These utensils work best on smooth fairly hard cheeses such as Edam, Gouda, and Emmental.

When a recipe calls for shredded cheese, you can’t beat the convenience of a cheese grater. Most modern kitchenware manufacturers offer a grater attachment for their food processors, and there are plenty of standalone options available from the likes of Oxo and KitchenAid.

Many of these graters come with several grating surfaces, including fine and coarse shredding holes. A fine surface is good for things like chocolate and vegetables, while a coarse side works well with most cheeses. If a recipe calls for a mixture of both, consider using the coarse and fine sides together to get the best of both worlds.

One trick to keeping your grater clean is to rinse it with hot water after each use. This prevents any cheese that dries onto the tool from becoming too clogged to remove. You can also give it a quick scouring with a toothbrush to get rid of any particularly sticky bits.

Box graters are great for hard cheeses, but they can’t do much for soft or high-moisture varieties such as goat and fresh mozzarella. Try putting these kinds of cheeses in the freezer briefly before you grate them to make them less slippery and more likely to shred cleanly.

Shredding Vegetables

Whether it’s fine strands for cheese sauces or chunks of Parmesan for a pizza topping, you’ll want to ensure that the grater you select can handle your intended application. You should also consider how much cheese you prepare regularly and the quantities, as some graters are designed to handle larger volumes than others. Finally, consider how easy the grater is to clean. A good grater should require minimal effort to keep clean, but not all do.

A cheese grater is a kitchen tool that’s often undervalued, yet it’s essential for any cook who loves to prepare their meals. While it may be intimidating for beginner cooks to use, a good quality grater can make it easier and less messy.

Choosing the right grater is important, but even more crucial is knowing how to use it properly. Grate only what you’ll need for the dish, and don’t press down hard – let the weight of the food do the work. This will help prevent clogging or tearing of the grater and allow it to work its magic in a safe, controlled manner.

If you’re using a box grater, look for one with multiple sides. The fine, pinhole side is ideal for preparing delicate foods like Parmesan and chocolate. It’s also useful for softer cheeses that are difficult to process through the coarse side of the device and items like garlic, horseradish, or nutmeg.

The medium-sized holes are perfect for shredding vegetables and other foods that require a slightly broader, more even texture than the fine side can produce. You can use this site to create shredded potatoes or hash browns, zucchini for quick bread and salads, cucumber for tzatziki, or even carrots and apples.

If you have a large quantity of cheese to prep, an electric grater might be the best option for you. These devices are usually built into larger appliances, such as food processors or stand mixers, and are designed to quickly grate large amounts of cheese and other ingredients with very little effort. The best electric graters also feature ergonomic designs to ensure they’re comfortable to hold and operate.

Shredding Citrus

A cheese grater can do more than grate a block of Parmesan—it’s also useful for shredding vegetables, zesting citrus, and adding texture to soups, pasta dishes, or salads. The slanted side of most graters produces the coarsest shred, great for vegetables like carrots or zucchini, and is best for quickly grating hard cheeses (like cheddar) into large chunks. The smaller, circular holes on the other side of a grater produce finer shards that work well with soft cheeses or for making breadcrumbs from toasted or dried bread. They’re also good for creating the “cheese dust” found in pre-grated hard cheese that you can buy at the grocery store (and, as a bonus, it’s easy to clean off your knuckles after using this side).

Another type of grater that works particularly well with soft cheeses is a handheld Microplane option. This grater creates beautiful pillows of cheese that add a lovely garnish to any dish and melt very fast—it’s best used on the smallest holes, as it tends to get gummy with more substantial hard cheeses when you use larger ones. This tool is also a cinch to clean, as it’s completely disassembled.

A rotary grater is a bit more complicated to use than a traditional box one, as you need to hold it with both hands while turning the crank. However, it’s a bit easier to use for left-handed cooks than a regular hand-held cheese grater and does an excellent job of shredding both hard and soft cheeses, as well as veggies. Its omnidirectional blade design is acid-etched for extra sharpness and ease of cleaning, and it has non-slip feet at the base to keep it stable on your counter or in your drawer while you’re working. It’s also dishwasher safe—though, as with any tool in the kitchen, we recommend you skip the dry cycle and simply wash it by hand to avoid damaging its blades.

When Is the Best Time to Use a Cheese Grater?

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