I think the first place I ever used a Microplane was in 7th grade wood shop.
You see, in middle school, I was one of those tomboy-ish girls who thought Home Ec was lame. (Joke’s on me, huh?) So I enrolled in shop class instead. I think my crowning achievement was making a wooden piggy bank in the shape of a penguin, but it sure was fun.
Anyhow, a key part of our woodworking education, according to my long-suffering shop teacher Mr. White, was to not cut off a finger in the 1,000-RPM (or whatever) band saw. And indeed, not a single finger was lost, despite thirty 12-year-olds acting like hooligans in a room full of power tools.
Mr. White had the patience of Job.
He also insisted that we learn the fine art of finishing wood to be—and I quote—“As smooooth as a baby’s be-hind.”
This involved much filing and sanding, which in hindsight may have just been a way to get us to sit down and shut up. 😉 Being a bit of a perfectionist, I got really into making my creations devoid of sharp corners and pointy edges. So I’m guessing there’s at least a chance I used a Microplane rasp in shop class.
Yup, you read that right: Microplane tools were originally designed for woodworking! Thanks to a proprietary manufacturing process, the teeth on Microplane tools are razor sharp, making them excellent for shaping and smoothing wood. (Though given our public school budget, we probably used lesser tools.)
From work bench to cutting board
In fact, according to company lore, the only reason Microplane tools transitioned to the kitchen was because an enterprising housewife “commandeered” her husband’s woodworking rasp to zest an orange for a cake she was making. (Hopefully she washed it first, lol!) It worked beautifully, and word spread like wildfire among home cooks and chefs, so it seems.
How Microplane zesters are different
Unlike box graters that rip and bludgeon, Microplane
zesters cut food into impossibly tiny, thin shreds with their precision-cut teeth. This increases the surface area of the grated food and boosts the flavor of whatever you grate, from nutmeg to lemon zest.
In fact, before I was introduced (reintroduced?) to the Microplane zester in my mid-twenties, I was zesting citrus on a box grater. That meant most of my lemon zest ended up stuck in the grater’s thorny projections as opposed to on my cutting board, which was beyond frustrating.
So when my mother-in-law recommended I try a Microplane zester, I was skeptical: Just another grater, right? But when I zipped it over a fresh lemon, my uncertainty turned to delight. The Microplane smoothly and effortlessly lifted the zest from the skin and collected it neatly in the tool itself.
I was hooked! And if you’ve never tried a Microplane, I think you will be too.
5 Cool things about Microplane zesters
Here’s what I love about my Microplane zester:
- Soft, comfy handle
- Effortless motion
- No waste: All the zest ends up in the Microplane or, for spices, on the cutting board
- Multiple uses: Zesting citrus, grating fresh ginger, making chocolate shavings, and grating whole spices like nutmeg and stick cinnamon
- Easy to clean
In fact, I love my Microplane so much that it’s one of the few kitchen tools I treat with the deference most people reserve for heirloom china. Yes, I wash it lovingly by hand (most of the time) and replace it carefully in its plastic sleeve after each wash. Although if you want to be normal (wha..?), you can throw it in the dishwasher. 🙂
Consequently, after 10 years of use, the teeth on my Microplane are still sharp, and it glides along as smoothly as ever. (Smooooooth as a baby’s be-hind, you might say…You were the best, Mr. White!)
So when I decided to run a giveaway to thank you all for being such great readers and blog buddies, Microplane immediately came to mind. They graciously agreed to provide not only a zester, but a complete prize pack!
The Giveaway: Microplane Prize Pack
One lucky Veggie Quest reader will win a Microplane Prize Pack worth over $60, including:
- Premium Classic Microplane Zester (in any color, from turquoise to eggplant)
- 2 in 1 Herb Mill
- Garlic Slicer
- Spiral Cutter
Enter now for your chance to WIN!
Want a chance to win the prize pack? Follow the instructions in the box below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Don’t wait—giveaway ends Friday, July 8th!
Thank you to Microplane for providing the prize pack for this giveaway. Please note that I was not compensated for this post, and all opinions are my own.
Giveaway is available to U.S. residents only. Outside the U.S.? Find Microplane tools near you by clicking here.
Shared on the Plant-Based Potluck Party.Click here for Microplane history references
- Edge J. How the Microplane grater escaped the garage. New York Times website. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/12/dining/12united.html?_r=0. January 11, 2011. Accessed June 22, 2016.
- The Microplane story. Microplane website. http://us.microplane.com/about-us.aspx. Accessed June 22, 2016.
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