What kind of grater do you need: box grater or a fine rasp?
– No kitchen should be without a grater even if you have a food processor with a grating attachment. You need a box grater to shred hard vegetables like carrots when you want to make small quantities of coleslaw and it’s not worth cleaning a machine afterwards. Box graters are hard work and if you are doing a big job a food processor is better. Store the grating disks safe in a cupboard so you know where they are – they tend to go missing just when you need them!
– Microplane graters or rasps are hand-held graters (they look a bit like a TV remote) and come in different sizes: buy a fine one for chocolate and Parmesan, another that gives you thicker strands. You need both the finer and the coarser version if you are a serious cook. They are a pleasure to use as you don’t cut your fingers and they are tidy enough to grate straight into a dish. They are named after the company who makes them and they come in different lengths and width.
– The best way to use a microplane grater is to hold the grater horizontally and upside down, that is with the front of the grater underneath. Grate from below so you are effectively grating upwards (it will feel funny but you’ll see why). That way the grated ingredient is sitting on the grater ready to drop into the pan or bowl and you can see how much you have. If you grate downwards straight into a pan or bowl, you can’t see how much you have grated.
– Antique graters are lovely to look at but don’t buy them if they are rusty unless you are prepared to sand them down. Always rub them with oil when you have finished washing them.
FOOD PROCESSOR TIP If you are using a food processor, have lost the manual and can’t work out how to attach the grating disk look up google and you’ll usually find a video on YouTube that will show you.