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Ginger Graters

Published March 2018

How we tested

Freshly grated ginger is a common component of recipes both sweet and savory, lending its distinctive aroma to cookies, cakes, and chutneys as well as stir-fries, glazes, sauces, and soups. To get the fine puree we want, we usually reach for our favorite rasp-style grater, the Microplane Premium Classic Zester/Grater ($14.95), or we use the smallest holes on our favorite box grater, the Microplane Specialty Series 4-Sided Box Grater ($34.95). But we've often wondered whether there might be a better option, especially because there exist a number of gadgets specifically intended for grating ginger.

To find the best tool for the job, we rounded up 10 graters priced from $8.00 to $35.64. These tools encompassed a range of sizes, shapes, materials, and grating styles: Some had rasp-style “etched” holes, some had puckered “stamped” holes punched out by a machine, and others—traditional Japanese oroshigane—had either metal teeth or ceramic nubs. Pitting these tools against our winning rasp-style and box graters, we grated a whopping 6 pounds of ginger.

Does Grater Style Really Matter?

With such a range of styles, it was no surprise that the tools produced purees with different textures—some were coarser or more fibrous, some finer, and one made flat shavings of ginger instead of puree. But in practice, these differences didn't matter: Tasters found ginger of every texture acceptable and very similar when eaten raw (added to soy sauce as a dip for tofu). When sautéed in oil as if for a stir-fry, different ginger samples cooked evenly and in roughly the same amount of time, and their flavor and texture were nearly indistinguishable from sample to sample.

That said, grater style did matter when it came to speed, efficiency, and ease of use. Models with etched or stamped holes made quicker work of grating than did those with “crowns” (bigger, ragged-edged etched holes), teeth, or nubs, taking less than a minute to produce 1 tablespoon of puree. Our two favorites were the fastest, producing 1 tablespoon of puree in just 15 seconds; both had etched holes. The worst model, with metal teeth, took more than 4 minutes. To a lesser degree, the size of the grating surface also helped determine speed: The larger the area, the more ground we could cover before starting a new stroke or before the ginger clogged the holes. The best models had at least 5 square inches of surface area.

Models with small etched holes were also less wasteful than the other types, pulverizing and pushing through more puree from a standardized piece of ginger (1 inch long and weighing 14 grams), leaving just 1 to 3 unusable grams of fibrous pulp on the grater face. When we used the same-size chunk on stamped and toothed graters, these models created as much waste as they did puree, and sometimes more—7 to 10 grams of pulp and only 4 to 7 grams of puree. This was because these types of graters usually couldn't break up the fiber as easily as the etched graters could, leaving more of it behind on top of the grater. As a result, we had to grate slightly more ginger with these models in order to yield 1 tablespoon of usable puree. And while none of these graters were exactly easy to clean, since the fibers snag easily on any protuberance and often need to be scrubbed or picked off by hand, the toothed and nubbed graters were particularly challenging.

Evaluating Comfort and Ease of Use

A few other factors made certain graters easier than others to hold and use. Handles that were rubbery and long—at least 4 inches—were more comfortable for hands of all sizes to grip, helping us stabilize the graters. When it came to harvesting the grated ginger, simpler was better: While troughs or special collection bins seemed like they'd be handy, testers found them fussy and more trouble than they were worth. Here again we preferred flat, smooth models with small etched or stamped holes through which the finished puree could fall or be scraped off; broad paddle-shaped versions made it particularly easy to maneuver a knife or spoon across the underside. Waste and puree sat mixed together on top of graters that lacked holes, making it harder to separate out the usable ginger and clean up afterward.

The Best Tools for Grating Ginger

The good news: Our favorite box grater, the Microplane Specialty Series 4-Sided Box Grater ($34.95), made speedy work of grating ginger with its big plane of fine etched holes. If you already own this product or you want to invest in one all-purpose grater, we highly recommend it for grating ginger. It's a little more wasteful than our winner and requires a bit more work to excavate the puree but is otherwise a great option.

But the absolute best tool for the job is the Microplane Home Series Fine Grater—and at $14.95, it's a budget-friendly gadget that expertly completes this task. With a large grating surface and razor-sharp etched holes, it grated a tablespoon of ginger in record time and was the least wasteful model in our lineup, leaving just 1 gram of fibrous material behind. Its large, rubbery handle was comfortable to hold, and even after grating more than 32 tablespoons of ginger—more than a pound's worth—it was still as sharp as when we first used it.

Methodology

We tested 10 graters priced from $8.00 to $35.64, pitting them against our favorite rasp-style and box graters. We used each tool to grate 1-inch chunks of ginger and produce 6 tablespoons of puree, timing the process and weighing both the finished purees and the waste left on the graters. We also had testers of different hand sizes and dominances use the graters and rank them. Graters were evaluated for their performance and ease of use. All models were purchased online, and they appear in order of preference.

Performance: We evaluated the graters on how quickly and efficiently they grated ginger.

Ease of Use: We evaluated the graters on how comfortable they were to hold and how easy it was to clean them and harvest ginger from them.

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The Results

Winner
Recommended

Design Trifecta 360 Knife Block

Admittedly expensive, this handsome block certainly seemed to live up to its billing as “the last knife block you ever have to buy.” The heaviest model in our testing, this block was ultrastable, and its durable bamboo exterior was a breeze to clean. Well-placed medium-strength magnets made it easy to attach all our knives, and a rotating base gave us quick access to them. One tiny quibble: The blade of our 12-inch slicing knife stuck out a little.

$248.64*
Recommended

Schmidt Brothers Downtown Block

This roomy block completely sheathed our entire winning knife set using just one of its two sides—and quite securely, thanks to long, medium-strength magnet bars. Heavy, with a grippy base, this block was very stable. An acrylic guard made this model extra-safe but also made it a little trickier to insert knives and to clean; the wood block itself showed some minor cosmetic scratching during use.

$141.90*

Schmidt Brothers Midtown Block

This smaller version of the Downtown Block secured all our knives nicely, though the blade of the slicing knife stuck out a bit. With a base lined with grippy material, this block was very stable. An acrylic guard afforded extra protection against contact with blades but made it a little harder to insert knives and to clean; the wood itself got a little scratched during use.

$67.99*
Recommended with Reservations

Swissmar Bamboo Magnetic Knife Block

This small, scratch-resistant model had a stable, rubber-lined base and could hold all our knives, though the blade of the 12-inch slicing knife stuck out a bit. But inch-long gaps between its small magnets made coverage uneven and forced us to find the magnetic hot spots in order to secure the knives. Its acrylic guard made it safer to use but harder to insert knives and to clean.

$49.93*
Not Recommended

Messermeister Walnut Magnet Block

This handsome block was done in by its shape—a tippy, top-heavy quarter-circle that wasn’t tall or broad enough to keep the blades of three knives from poking out. It lacked a nonslip base, and its extra-strong magnets made it unnerving to attach or remove our heavy cleaver. Finally, it got a bit scratched after extensive use.

$129.95*

Epicurean Standing Knife Rack 12"

This magnetic block sheathed all our knives completely, though with a bit of crowding. But it was hard to insert each knife without hitting the block’s decorative slats on way down, and because the block was light and narrow, it wobbled when bumped. Worse, we couldn’t take it apart, so splatters that hit the interior were there to stay. Additionally, the outside stained easily, and when we wiped it down, the unit smelled like wet dog.

$99.95*

Kapoosh Rondelle Knife Block

This model stabilized knives with a mass of stiff, spaghetti-like bristles that shed and nicked easily after extensive use, covering our knives with plastic debris. While all our knives fit securely, several of the blades stuck out, making this unit feel less safe overall. Finally, though the bristles could be removed and cleaned in the dishwasher, their nooks and crannies made this block hard to wash by hand.

$24.99*

Kuhn Rikon Vision Knife Block, Clear

This plastic block required us to aim each knife into the folds of an accordion-pleated insert that was removable for easy cleaning but got nicked easily with repeated use. Because we could only insert the knives vertically, longer knife blades stuck out; a cleaver was too wide to fit. The lightest model in our lineup, this block was dangerously top-heavy when loaded with knives.

$35.88*