Is a Microplane worth it?
Absolutely completely yes. For me this is an indispensable kitchen product that proves itself over and over. Being able to micro-grate items like lemon zest and ginger can transform your cooking. Buy on Amazon here.
Before I purchased my first microplane grater, I laughed at the very notion; I had a regular old grater for lemons and could chop plenty fine for items like garlic and ginger. That’s what I’d tell myself. Still, people kept insisting I needed this tool in my kitchen arsenal.
I eventually relented and wow, am I glad I did. This really has become an indispensable item in my “most used tools” draw in the kitchen. Why? Well, certain dishes just aren’t the same without the fine granularity this tool delivers. Big bold flavors can be rendered down into a granular essence that you cook with far more subtly.
The biggest initial game changer for me was freshly grated ginger. Traditionally I’d just chop it by hand, as fine as I could manage. No matter my efforts though, you can only slice and chop so thin, and there’d always invariably be a stringy, bitty quality to the end results. As assertive as ginger is, this can make for an uneven dish, a blast of ginger popping out here and there ruing a random bite.
You experience none of that when using the Microplane grater. Ginger is rendered to a watery mush. Sounds appetizing I know, but in this format it can be integrated into dishes such as the Asian salad below very deftly. It no longer stands out, instead it blends into the overall dish gracefully.
I’ll never make this dish again (garlic, ginger, soy, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil) without the grater. And yep, I run the garlic through it for the same reason too.
The packaging touts cheese as another use for this grater, but for me, the other big item here are lemons. The microplane can zest a lemon in seconds – just be careful you don’t get too eager – and grate your fingers! Much like ginger finely grated lemon zest can be seamlessly blended into a variety of dishes – rather than standing out in big clumps.
A couple of popular ways to use lemon zest in our house, include the vibrant lemon yogurt sauce below, or as an ingredient in a lemony garlicky dressing for fish.
Before you ask, yes this is dishwasher safe. After I’ve used the microplane I will usually rinse under some warm water and brush out any strands of leftover ginger or lemon, no more than 60 seconds of effort, then run through the dishwasher. Easy.
For all the above reasons, this product makes our Smart Buys list, products that we find no brainers to purchase. It doesn’t hurt that the product can usually be found for $15 and under, hardly a major outlay; and honestly you’ll get much more than fifteen bucks enjoyment out of what this tool can bring to your cooking. Buy on Amazon here (affiliate link).
Hi, I’m Stuart, nice to meet you! I’m the founder, writer and wrangler at Gastronomic SLC – Utah’s biggest and oldest online food magazine; I’m also a former restaurant critic of more than five years, working for the Salt Lake Tribune. I’ve worked extensively with multiple local publications from Visit Salt Lake to Salt Lake Magazine, not least helped to consult on national TV shows.
I’m a multiple-award winning journalist and have covered the Utah dining scene for the better part of fifteen years. I’m largely fueled by a critical obsession with rice, alliteration and the use of big words I don’t understand. I started Shop Smart to catalogue my adventures in the grocery store and kitchen. Follow along on Instagram too!