by Carl Smith, Deli & Cheese Buyer
When it comes down to it, often times old inexpensive gadgets are the best. The box grater is good for grating most things, but not all box graters are made alike. Do not forget the handheld graters and zesters. Each has its purpose in the kitchen.
These graters usually have 4 different sides for different uses. The large hole side is good for shredding soft cheeses and harder root vegetables like potatoes. The medium-size holes make smaller shreds of hard foods. The small holes turn out fine, crumbs. Great for hard cheeses like Parmesan and Romano. The single straight sharp edge is for shaving thin slices of hard foods, such as carrots or potatoes. Look for a comfortable handle; rubber at the bottom to prevent sliding across a counter.
Handheld Graters or Rasps
For shredding directly into a bowls or a pot, the rasps are much handier than box graters for this task. With only a single hole size, they work well for small amounts of hard cheese or other foods, such as baking chocolate and coconut.
Look for a good grip handle with a sturdy blade.
Used for Spices, which are very hard and citrus zests. Releasing concentrated flavor from cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, and citrus rind. The slim and with smaller holes than rasp graters, zesters make hundreds of fine cuts. They’re ideal for lemons and limes, since the tiny holes won’t pick up pith. The five- or six-hole ones, called lemon or citrus zesters, are good for making lemon curls for martinis and espresso.
Look for razor-edged holes; a thin grater plate (the thinner the metal, the finer the cutting edge).
We have many varieties at Bristol Farms. You can find brands like OXO or Zyliss that have the boxed or straight graters. For Rasps and/or zesters we have many varieties and styles from the number one brand Microplane, Zyliss and many others.