Using all Four Sides of a Box Grater: Tips & Tricks

Of all the gizmos and gadgets for the kitchen, the task of shredding or grating things gets almost as many as the category of kitchen knives. There is just a mind-boggling array of devices that promise to help you with this task. At the end of the day, however, most people just stick with a basic box grater. It doesn’t require any special knowledge or to be plugged in. Just take your food to the grater and have at. Just be careful of your finger tips. Nobody wants a thumb in their coleslaw.

box grater

The problem is that most people only ever use one side of their box grater. What do those other three sides even do? Well, the list sounds a bit like one of those cheesy infomercials. It slices! It dices! It grills the steak for you! Okay, so that’s exagerating a bit. But the four functions are slicing, large-hole shredder, small-hole shredder, and grater.

Box Grater side 1: Large-hole shredder

One of the wide faces of the box grater, the side usually shown in photographs (including mine), is going to be a shredder. Standard size is a quarter inch hole. This is great for coarse shreds. Perfect for vegetables and what most people picture when they think of shredded cheese.

Box Grater side 2: Slicer

The slicer will be on one of the short sides. It will be a slot roughly two inches (at least on mine) long and a quarter inch tall. Use this side when you want a slice of something instead of a shred. Use this for making potato or zucchini chips.

Box Grater side 3: Small-hole shredder

On the other wide face is going to be the small-hole shredder. It’s holes are half the size of the other side, so 1/8th inch. Use this when you want a finer shred. “Taco” cheese is usually found at this size.

Box Grater side 4: Grater

On the final side is the grater. Grating is a lot like shredding, but even smaller. Shredding will usually produce little strips about half and inch to an inch in length. Grating will make tiny nuggets. On one site, I saw the consistency listed as saw-dust. While I don’t think that sawdust sounds too appetizing, that would be a correct size. The Parmesan cheese that you buy in the plastic jar is what you are going to get. Grating works best on hard foods, particularly hard cheeses such as Parmesan.

3 Responses to this post.

  1. Posted by saltandserenity on 19.07.11 at 05:00

    I always wondered what all the different sides were for! Thanks.
    P.S. Great tomato photo!

  2. Posted by Edward Antrobus on 19.07.11 at 05:00

    Your welcome. I spent years idly wondering myself. As a kid, we only ever used the large grater side.

  3. Posted by Claire on 19.07.11 at 05:00

    the smallest holes (on the side opposite the slicer) are used for zesting (lemon, lime, orange rind); the small wholes on the front/back I use for making potato pancakes; the largest wholes I use for shredding cabbage for coleslaw

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