Graters have been around for very long time, and are very useful in the kitchen for grating everything from cheese and spices to garlic and potatoes. Although there are many different types of graters their shape has not change since its inception. They are either box or flat, maid with metal (or some newer models with plastic) with raised scales that are sharp and actually are doing the grating. The quality of the grater depends upon these scales. How sharp they are and how well they maintain their shape.
Imagine now that instead of the typical fruit or spice you have to grind something woodier… something like wood! That ’s what professional carpenters do for the last few centuries; trying to smooth out wood! They use a perfectly flat sheet of stainless steel that has raised scales, that do the shaving of the wood. One of the best companies for that is Microplane. They just took their tool and start using it in the kitchen. And it works grate (get it? Great Grate… never mind). Wood is harder than the overage food, it needs a perfectly smooth and planar finish and most of all, it needs to work fast.
The secret to that is the way the scales are. If you look close the scale are separated from the rest of the steel with a big gap three sides around. They are evenly raised and perfectly flat. That delivers the maximum cutting ability. Imagine to cut with a knife, and with a curved knife. The force distribution the second time is much worse resulting in a poor cut. Also the evenness among the raised edges and the flat surface results in the minimum friction among the food and the grater making therefore the grating a lot more efficient and safer. Uneven sliding of the food results in accidents that can hurt you. Also the overall construction is very clean and simple. A piece of steel scaled that is curved around the edges. This makes cleanup a breeze. They all come with some hard plastic protector that can be flipped around and can be used to catch the various shavings. Really great feature especially when you grate spices like dry ginger, nutmeg etc. The company microplane makes different versions of this. spice graters, zesters etc. The main difference is the area of the grater, the length and the height of the raised scales. The higher the scales the coarser the grating and the larger the surface the larger the food items it can grate. The longer the grater the more efficient in grinding the material. So you can see one devise three parameters endless configuration.
The most typical application is zesting citrus and the smaller grater can shave a very thin layer leaving behind the pith; the bitter white part of the orange that tastes so bitter.
Microplane grater is the one gadget I cannot leave without. It is featured in all my dishes and even on the banner of the webpage. It is as simple as it get and as wonderful in its finishing results. it is the one item that you should have anytime available in the kitchen. Efficient, simple, durable, versitale.