Season A Granite Mortar

How to season a granite mortar pestle! I’ve wanted a granite mortar pestle set for a while now so I decided to get me one. Now it’s time to season it and make a mean guac, This post contains affiliate links.

Granite mortar pestle guacamole

Does a marble mortar pestle need to be seasoned


Marble mortar pestle set

Yes indeed! A new mortar and pestle set needs seasoning to remove stone grit from the inside. Because the interior surface is left rough and unpolished. So the items you’re grinding can “grab” the bottom and sides and not jump out of the bowl.

New granite mortar and pestle

Without seasoning it first, your food ends up with sand or grit. Furthermore, never use soap in your mortar and pestle set ever or you will end up with soapy tasting food.

Do you need to season a granite mortar and pestle

A resounding yes as well! The porousness of the rock allows it to absorb and retain flavors. Consequently the more you use your mortar and pestle the more seasoned it becomes. Just like a cast iron, similar concept. So my personal recommendation is to get or have two. One for your peppers, and stronger herbs and spices. Meanwhile the other is reserved for sauces, salsas and guacamole.

Seasoned granite mortar pestle

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How to Season A Granite Mortar and pestle.

New mortar pestle warm water wash

First give your new mortar and pestle a hard scrub with warm water, Remember NO SOAP. Use a mini brush or the scrub side of a new kitchen sponge. Then let it air dry.

Clean Mortar pestle

Now add a bulb of garlic and sprinkles of salt in the mortar. Optionally, you can add some peppercorns. I didn’t but I found some websites that recommended using that.  And then mash the ingredients to a paste. Further spread the paste all inside the mortar and let sit from 30 mins to 24 hours. I let mine set for 24 hours

Seasoning with garlic and onions

The next day, scrape out the garlic paste and rinse the mortar and pestle with warm water.

Rinsing the new mortar pestle

And then add a handful of wet rice into the mortar and mash the rice to a paste. The rice paste should be

Wet rice in granite mortar

white. Moreover, if it’s gray or ash color scrape out the paste and repeat. If it’s white, move on to the next step.

Season a granite mortar pestle

Finally, Place two tablespoons of rock salt into the mortar. And then grind the salt into a fine powder.

New granite mortar pestle with salt

Now your mortar and pestle is ready to use. The more you use it, the more seasoned the stone becomes.

New season granite mortar with salt


How do you care for a granite mortar pestle

Seasoned granite mortar with adobo sauce

  • Always wash the mortar and pestle with a clean dishrag or a mini brush immediately after use. And rinse in warm water to minimize staining. Granite is especially prone to staining when exposed to acidic and oily foods.
    New Granite mortar taking a warm bath
  •  My personal recommendation is NO SOAP. Because scented liquids and soaps leave a perfume residue on the mortar and pestle. This eventually ends up in your food. Use an abrasive dish sponge to remove stuck-on food.
  • Dry the mortar and pestle with a clean cloth to prevent water stains from forming on the granite.
    Drying the granite mortar peston

How to care for a marble mortar and pestle

  •  First wipe away any residue left from previous grindings with a clean paper towel. Pay special attention to any carved nooks and crannies on your pestle’s handle.
  • Dab stains from deeply colored and very oily ingredients with a paper towel soaked in lemon juice, Or white vinegar. Do not allow the acid to sit on the stain.
  • Then scrub gently with a clean washcloth or a mini brush inside and out. Now rinse in warm water and dry thoroughly with a clean towel. Or lay out upside down on a folded towel to air dry.
  • NO SOAP especially because soap residue can affect the flavor of your.
    Marble mortar pestle with cumin

Tips & Warnings

• Scrub your mortar out with dry rice to remove stubborn stains without using harsh abrasives.
• Do not soak your marble mortar and pestle in any type of acidic liquid or harsh chemical. Because it damages the stone.

Onions, garlic and salt

which material is best for a mortar pestle

Mortar and pestles come in different shapes, sizes and materials. Meanwhile, some are better suited for certain tasks than others. Which material is best ultimately depends on your personal needs and what you are using it for.


Granite Mortar pestle versatile

African and Thai cookery traditionally uses granite. Especially for making spice pastes. Granite mortar and pestles are some of the most versatile.

Their weight and slightly irregular surface makes for (relatively) easy work of a variety of jobs.  For instance, crushing dried chili peppers and spices. As well as grinds herbs and even fibrous ingredients such as kaffir lime leaves and lemon grass.

Grew up with granite hand spice stone in Cameroon grinding spices, tomatoes and other ingredients needed for the family’s meal.

mortar Grinding_Grain_I

Read also: Meet the parents: Life in Cameroon

Grinding Stone

Called batán in South America. We still use it in Africa till today. Also used in South America and common among the Aborigines. The grinding stone is a large stone set version of the mortar and pestle. Primarily used for grinding and milling.

mortar, grinding stone

Basically it’s just two rocks. A large flatish base rock and a smaller, rounder (or oval) hand held rock. So the ingredients are placed on the large base rock while the hand held rock crushes them. The same mechanism as the pestle crushes spices placed in the mortar.

Mortar, grinding flour

One would think that a food processor could easily replace it. But the taste and texture of the results leave a lot to be desired.

Just like a mortar pestle, the grinding stone is used to grind all kinds of ingredients. It crushes corn and cilantro for green tamales, and huacatay combined with aji amarillo for aji de huacatay. Also, it even grinds coffee beans for coffee. As well as tomatoes, ginger, garlic, basil, celery etc for stew.

old African grind mortar grinding stone


A heavy bowl made of the snowy, veined stone. Crushes spices and pounds garlic and ginger, etc. But the super-smooth surface means it doesn’t work quite as well for crushing herbs, nuts and seeds. Because it tends to dance around.

Marble mortar and pestle

Hardwood and Olive-wood

Before flour making machines were introduced in Africa, people used wooded mortar and pestles. Pounds dry maize grains and dried cassava roots into flour. These tools were universal.

Mortar pestle pounding grain

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Mediterranean cooks traditionally used wooden mortars for crushing spices and making garlic sauces. Porousness of wood naturally absorbs certain flavors and aromas.

mortar pestle olivewood

Since garlic flavor tends to linger in the wooden mortar, it contributes to a complexity of flavor over time. Or imply a flavor of garlic where it’s not welcome. So choose a wooden mortar if you’re planning to use it repeatedly for the same purpose.

Mortar pestle women pounding

Cast iron

The heavy, durable material is a good choice for processing hard and fibrous ingredients. But it can rust and so requires a little extra care. Meanwhile, avoid iron mortars with a heavy coating on the inside. Although it discourages rust,  it creates a surface too slippery to work with effectively.

Mortar and pestle cast iron


Cooks in Europe have long favored ceramic mortars and pestles for making, say, pesto in Italy and picadas in Spain. This material works particularly well with garlic, nuts, herbs and bread. Thailand uses a ceramic mortar and pestle to lightly bruise ingredients for green papaya salad.

mortar spices ceramic

Japanese earthenware 

The mortar and pestle is called a suribachi in Japan. It grinds seeds, nuts tofu, crushes ginger, fish and meat into paste. It’s also a great choice for making pesto or other crushed-herb blends because of its ridged interior.

Clay mortar pestle


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