Mortars and Pestles
We prefer mortars that hold at least 3 cups, have a rough interior to help grip and grind ingredients, and come with a long, heavy pestle that keeps knuckles from scraping the mortar’s edge. Three models seemed to fit the bill: Two were made of granite and the third of volcanic rock. To test whether these tools could not only pulverize ingredients but also keep them contained at the same time, we tried crushing 1 tablespoon of toasted rice, then a tablespoon of whole peppercorns, and finally a tablespoon of dry tapioca to the consistency of cornmeal in each vessel. The wide, low bowl of a granite model from Vasconia had us chasing ingredients around the kitchen. And we found that while a moderately rough surface is good, the cavities of the craggy volcanic rock mortar from Imusa were so large that they trapped food particles. Plus, this tool required a 24-hour seasoning process with garlic paste. We got great results from our winner right out of the box. It was heavy and stable, with tall, narrow walls that didn’t let ingredients escape and a comfortable, heavy pestle that made easy work of any pounding task.
The nonslip grip and narrow, straight blade let testers remove the smallest bones with precision and complete comfort. Perfectly balanced with enough flexibility to maneuver around tight joints. The low price was a bonus.
Hefty in weight, this knife was a solid performer when removing poultry bones, and the handle was easy to grip, even when covered in chicken fat. Piercing silver skin was a challenge since the tip wasn’t sharp enough and the long narrow blade produced slightly jagged cuts.
|Recommended with Reservations|
The sharp tip performed well when removing silver skin, but it was too flexible when maneuvering around poultry joints, leaving testers feeling a lack of control. The heavy handle was slightly unbalanced and became slippery once covered in poultry fat.
Designed to replicate a samurai blade, this expensive knife was a disappointment. It struggled to pierce the silver skin, although long cuts were smooth and even. Minimal flexibility and extreme curve got in the way when maneuvering around joints. The smooth handle was hard to grip and slippery.
The large, cumbersome handle reminded testers of an outdoors knife for fishing and hunting. The blade was too wide to maneuver around joints and it struggled to pierce silver skin. Unlike other knives, this boning knife could only slice in one direction, making intricate cuts around joints difficult.
The blade was so flexible it led to erratic cuttings; testers said the knife was hard to control. The blade was not sturdy enough to maneuver around joints and the lightweight handle felt flimsy and unbalanced.
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