Finally! Here Is What All the Sides of Your Box Grater Are For.
For most of my professional career, I largely ignored three of the four sides of a box grater, opting only to use the shredding side. It turns out, though, that a box grater can actually be one of the most versatile tools in the kitchen; all it took was finally discovering what the heck all four sides of the box grater are actually for. If this somewhat bulky tool is going to earn a place in your kitchen cabinet — as it has mine — let’s get to know it a little better. Here is how to use all four sides of a box grater.
The Grating Side
The Shredding Side
The shredding side has holes that are slightly smaller than the first. Scrape a block of cheese or a cucumber along this side for smaller, finer shards of food. Use this side when you want the cheese to melt more quickly or for a more delicate texture of zucchini or carrot, for example, that will melt into the batter for muffins or carrot cake.
The Slicing Side
The third side has one to three sharp slicing blades that can produce slabs of cheese, vegetables, or firm fruits. This side often isn’t adjustable or as sharp as a mandoline, so don’t expect to accomplish the quick-fire, even slices that tool delivers. Still, this side is useful if you aren’t confident in your knife skills, if you are introducing a child to common kitchen tasks, or if you don’t want to dirty another tool.
The Zesting Side
This is the side that is probably the most misunderstood of all. The star-shaped spikes appear simply Medieval. I’m used to shaving zest off citrus fruits with a rasp-style grater, but that is exactly what this side of the box grater is meant for. This side can also be used to grate spices like nutmeg and cinnamon sticks, and Parmesan into fine pebbles. You’ll have more success rubbing the spices and hard cheeses gently against the metal pricks, rather than trying to push them through the holes.
What’s your favorite use for your box grater?
Get the Kitchn Daily in your inbox.