G is for Grater


Grater (Photo credit: Konstantin Lazorkin)

G is for Grater.

A grater is an implement used to shred or grate foods such as cheeses or vegetables. It is also known as a shredder in some parts of the United States. Graters are used to quickly cut soft foods into small pieces to make them bite ready or melt more quickly. The grater was invented in the 16th century as a way or re-purposing stale cheeses in the days before hard cheeses were common.

Styles of graters

There are two basic styles of graters. While they come in a variety of shapes and sizes, the reality is that they are really just two, the box grater and the plane.

Box graters

Box graters have two to six sides with different size grating slots for different grating and shredding jobs. Typically, there is a handle at the top. The four sided box grater is the most common. It has a rectangular shape with a plane-style cheese grater and a vegetable slicer on the short sides and two different size shredding holes on the longer sides. For a more detailed explanation of the uses of a box shredder, please see Using all Four Sides off a Box Grater.

Aside from the number of sides,  other variations include handle styles and storage containers. While basic models have a metal handle, some have a plastic or rubber grip and possibly a non-slip base. Another feature that some models employ is a small storage container. If you need half a cup of shredded cheese, then it is handy to be able to grate directly into a container that marks that amount.

Plane graters

The other style of grater is the plane, sometimes called a micro-plane. A plane has a flat (or sometimes curved) face attached to a handle. Unlike a box grater, the plane doesn’t always have holes. Instead, some plane-style cheese graters have sharp nodules on them which grain size pieces are broken off.

Also related is the zester. A zester is similar to a plane-style grater, but is typically used only for the skins of citrus fruits.


I bought this Kitchenaid Gourmet Box Grater last year after my old grater started to rust. It is sturdy and holds up well to usage and the storage container and non-slip base are nice features.

2 Responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Canadian Budget Binder on 23.04.13 at 22:45

    We also have the kitchenaid box grater and its held up well over the years, no rust. We also have a mini grater for chocolate and nutmeg and another grater for chocolate and cheese.. we like our graters. We also have the grater attachment for our kitchenaid mixers but we haven’t used it yet. It’s a great investment for any kitchen that’s for sure.

  2. Posted by Edward Antrobus on 23.04.13 at 22:45

    Good to hear that I picked the right one. :) There are a fool tools in my kitchen that I could live without if they broke. But my box grater is not one of them.

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