On this page you can download plan that can help you make pestle and mortar (two versions), a perfect gift for anyone who loves cooking.
A pestle and mortar are used for various purposes since the ancient times. Basically, it is a container and a cylindrical pestle, used for hand grinding and mixing of different materials. In the old days, before the appearance of various kitchen appliances, pestle and mortar was a universal tool for crushing, used in the preparation of food, medicines, and the like. It was used by doctors and pharmacists for preparing medicines and medicinal plants, by painters for the preparation of paint, by physicists and chemists for processing chemicals, by cooks for preparing spices and chopping various kinds of food, by women for preparing make-up. Nowadays, despite all the electrical appliances that are available to us, a pestle and mortar can often be found in a kitchen, pharmacy laboratory or hospital.
A pestle and mortar can be made of various materials - stone, granite, marble, clay, steel, iron, wood, volcanic rock - basalt (Molcajete y Telojote, Mexico), etc, and the choice of material depends on the tool's purpose. They can be of various dimensions, and they also depend on the purpose, that is, the amount of material that has to be crushed at once.
For kitchen use, it is necessary to have a mortar that is sufficiently big or small to fulfill the purpose. If you want to chop herbs (such as grains, seeds, salt, saffron, chilly, pepper...), and to use them always fresh, you require a set of smaller dimensions; and if you want to chop nuts in it, you will need a bigger set. Anyway, both mortar and pestle surfaces should be smooth; otherwise food remains would stay in uneven surfaces.
Spices are of a much better quality, and the food with them tastes better if they are chopped with a pestle in a mortar, just before use, whether fresh or dried, than if you use ready-made industrial grinded purchased spices that have been packaged in bags and stored on shop shelves for months, and during the time, lost most of its flavor. The flavors of spices usually come from essential oils that are found in cells and that quickly evaporate after breaking up cells. If you chop spices just before using them, the flavor will remain in your food. If the chopping is done a long time before use, the flavors will slowly evaporate, and while the time for use comes, the spice will be a pale shadow of what it actually was when it was fresh. Apart from that, if you want to chop the same spices in a blender, they will eventually be turned into mush, which often changes the taste and smell when in contact with the metal blades of the blender, and the time needed to clean the blender later is usually a reason to give up the idea in advance. A pestle and mortar are easy to maintain, and the wood will never ruin the taste of your spices and food.
The use of a pestle and mortar is for sure the safest solution, seen from the health aspect. In order to make a pestle and mortar, you need to choose a very tough and hard wood, so that it would be resistant to impact and damage from the food that you chop, and to make it more stable. To create a wooden pestle and mortar, we recommend that you use olive wood. It is an extremely hard wood with extraordinary grained color. The extremely hard surface of the olive wood makes this mortar and pestle perfect for crushing garlic and spices. For maintaining the olive wood pestle and mortar set, we recommend that you brush it occasionally with food safe mineral oil, and to exclusively hand wash it with warm water and detergent, and never to leave it soaked in water, so that the wood would not absorb water and crack. Besides olive wood, you can use oak, walnut, maple, cherry wood or some other that has similar characteristics.
If you are skilled in stone processing, and you need a pestle and mortar for crushing materials that have strong odors (garlic, etc.), then you can decide to create a marble pestle and mortar. The advantages of the marble pestle and mortar are that the set is much heavier, so it is easier for chopping ingredients, and the stone does not absorb odors, so it is easier to wash it.
The pestle and mortar plans that we gave you here should serve as an idea, and the dimensions depend on your needs. If you want to make a pestle and mortar to serve you as a decoration for your kitchen, then you should choose the type of wood that is easily shaped, and in that case, you can decorate the external surfaces with carving, or you can play with a combination of different types of woods that are of various colors, which will, after the finishing, result in an unusual appearance.