Which Grater Should I Use?

Author: Chef Sydney

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What are Graters?

A grater is used to shred or grate food into smaller pieces.  Graters are sometimes also called shredders.  Graters are usually made of stainless steel, but they can be made of plastic, ceramic or porcelain, or wood.

What are Graters Used For?

Graters are used for a variety of reasons.  One popular use for a grater is to shred cheese.  Graters shred carrots for carrot cake or potatoes for hash browns.  Lemon zest, orange zest, fresh cinnamon, and chocolate curls are all created with different kinds of graters.

Freshly grated cheese in a bowl next to a box grater.

What are the Different Types of Graters?

  • Box
  • Rotary
  • Flat, also called Handheld or Paddle
  • Zester
  • Electric

Box: Box graters are one of the most common kinds of graters.  Box graters are rectangular with a handle at the top to grip the grater.  They are almost always made out of stainless steel.  There are different types of holes on each side of the grater for different foods.  One larger side has larger holes for foods like potatoes and the other larger side has smaller holes for foods like cheese.  The two smaller sides usually have long holes for cutting vegetables into equal slices.  Some box graters have a plastic storage box on the bottom to store grated food.

Rotary: Rotary graters have a handle that rotates, much like a bicycle pedal, and grates your food.  These graters are safe because your skin does not come in contact with the grater.  Rotary graters are almost always made of plastic.  Use a rotary grater when you want to grate food over something else, like grating fresh parmesan cheese over your spaghetti at the dinner table.

Flat, Also Called Paddle or Handheld: Flat graters have a longer handle to hold the grater up so you can shred food over a dish.  The size of the holes varies and can range from small to large.  Common uses for a flat grater include grating a lemon for its zest, grating chocolate over a finished cake, or shredding fresh parmesan over warm pasta.

Zester: Zesters are similar to flat graters because they have long handles so they can be held above a dish.  Unlike flat graters, zesters have small holes for fine grating.  Use zesters to grate citrus zest and fresh nutmeg.

Electric: Electric graters are machines that grate the food for you.  The food is first placed in a tube and requires pushing down with the tool provided with the machine.  The food is then grated and comes out of a hole on the side of the grater.  Some electric graters also have a rotating handle, like a rotary grater, that you can use yourself.  Electric graters are one of the safer options because you never come in contact with the holes.

Recipes Using Graters

Spiced Hot Chocolate

Enjoy a twist on your favorite hot chocolate! Prepare your favorite hot chocolate as instructed and pour into cups. Grate fresh cinnamon over the top of the cup. Garnish with the rest of the cinnamon stick, which doubles as a stirrer.

Zucchini Bread

Bake a classic loaf of zucchini bread for a delicious treat. Shred zucchini with a box grater, then combine with eggs, oil, and vanilla. Mix in the dry ingredients and bake for about an hour.

Macaroni and Cheese

Grate your own cheese to change the flavor to suit your taste. Grate jack cheese, Gruyere cheese, and cheddar cheese into the rue sauce before baking. These cheeses melt together to create a delicious combination of flavor.

Cheesy Rice

Spice up your average side dish with cheese. Cook your preferred type of rice. While the rice cooks, grate 1 to 2 cups of cheddar cheese. Stir in grated cheese and serve when the cheese has melted.

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