The inconspicuous cheese grater is one of the more invaluable kitchen tools that almost every household has today. From the household foodie to the cuisine connoisseur, sure enough, the “cheese shredder,” as some may call it, is a valuable tool that makes cooking easier and with pleasure.
Although there are a lot of modern improvements made to the classic cheese grater. Attempts to persuade gourmet lovers to use the electronic versions instead. Automated shredders have been in the market for quite a while, but still, the simple and unassuming cheese grater is the more reliable companion even for the most minimalist kitchen.
Pre-grated cheese was another opportunity to minimize the use of the kitchen tool, but the food innovation’s reputation dwindled with its expensive and chemically tainted packaging. Pre-grated cheese is packed with preservatives to prevent it from clumping.
Who invented the cheese grater?
The first person to enjoy the benefits of a cheese shredder was Francois Boullier. A French of the 1540s, Boulle’s desire to help households to use the excess cheese resulted in his invention of the cheese grater. Centuries later, during the Great Depression, Jeffrey Taylor of Philadelphia heard about Boullier’s kitchen tool. Taylor has further improved the cheese grater and paved the way for the modern cheese grater that we are now using today.
What else can I do with a cheese grater?
Aside from cheese, there’s more than you can do with a cheese grater. We’ve listed down a few.
- Quick Flavors. Create your own bottles of flavors by grating your spices down into granules. You can store them in apothecary jars and place them in the freezer for longer shelf life.
- Create a New Soap. For used soaps that have gone into small sizes, you can use the grater to shred them into smaller pieces. With enough grated soap, you can now melt it on a stove then poured into a soap mold.
- Thin Sliced Meat. Use the slicer portion of your grater to achieve paper-thin slices for your steak or beef. Make sure, though to freeze your meat to make it firm enough but can still be smoothly run through the grater.
- Cocktail Flavors. Grate frozen fruits into your shredder to get fine ice granules that are perfect toppings for your cocktail juice. You can also add them to ice cream or mix them in your favorite yogurt.
- Grated Eggs. Shred hard-boiled eggs on your vegetable salads to add flavor and protein. You can also add a healthy ingredient to your sandwich or soups.
Types of Cheese Graters
The most used types of cheese graters are handheld, rotary, boska, and microplane graters. There are also varied types of automated and electronic cheese graters in the market today. But, probably, the more versatile and inexpensive variety of cheese shredder is the box grater. The simple shredder comes with three to four grating sizes with a detachable storage container to hold in the shredded cheese. Other box graters may have a side that can cut thin slices just like an ordinary knife would do.
What does each side do?
- Small Holes. This is used primarily when you want a fine cheese granule. Suitable for grating hard textured cheese such as Parmesan. Besides cheese, you may also use them to make mashed potatoes and shredding citrus peelings to give a zesty taste to your drinks or salads. It is probably the hardest side to clean because of the tiny holes.
- Medium Holes. It looks much like raindrops. The holes are perfect in creating fine strips, making it perfect for cheddar cheese and other firmer types of cheese. You’ll find this side is most useful in making soups or stews that need finely strips of vegetables and spices.
- Largest Holes. This side has outward and spiky holes protruding and probably the most used side of the grater where you grate hard and soft cheese. For more effortless grating, you can freeze the cheese, and for easier cleaning spray or wipe a thin coat of cooking oil on the surface. Vegetables and root crops work perfectly with this side of the box grater.
- Cutting Side. This looks like a smiley face on your cheese grater. Useful in quickly slicing small amounts of food, such as making thinly sliced potatoes for scalloped potato recipes. You can layer fine cheese as well for lasagna or any other dishes that need thin slices.
The classic cheese grater has been reinvented many times over with newer and sometimes better models. Though still, many will agree that the simple handheld cheese shredder is still an efficient and expensive kitchen tool that’s indispensable to any cooking area, may it be for household or commercial use. With this, the cheese shredder will seem to stay useful forever in kitchens for many generations.