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Mortars & Pestles

Creating delicious meals is simple when you use a variety of herbs and spices. From parsley to cilantro and garlic, seasoning your food is easier when you have the right tools to prepare your herbs and spices. Opt for mortar and pestle sets from Williams-Sonoma to crush herbs or to make specialty dishes like mashed avocado for homemade guacamole. If you prepare guacamole or pesto often, choose a traditional molcajete. A molcajete is made with volcanic rock and has a rough interior that helps create a smoother dips. You also have the option to use your molcajete as a rustic serving dish. Just line the dish with lettuce leaves, or similar edible foods, and use it to serve a variety of foods.


If you make pesto frequently, you can also consider using an olive oil dispenser to ensure you add just the right amount of oil to the pesto. Olive oil dispensers are available in a variety of styles, with options that range from traditional copper cruets to modern glass dispensers that have stainless-steel tips. For everyday cooking, an oil sprayer is an excellent alternative to cooking spray. Just pour your own cooking oil into the sprayer, and use it the same way you use cooking spray to create a nonstick surface. To use your own bottle, opt for a stopper and dispenser tip. Oil dispensers are very useful if you want to create your own flavored oils using garlic or herbs.


To prepare herbs for flavored oils easily or for garnishing dishes, add an herb stripper to your essential kitchen tools. To use an herb stripper, place the stem in stripper and gently pull. The leaves are gently separated from the stem in seconds. A garlic press is also essential if you love the rich, robust flavor of fresh garlic. Choose a stainless-steel garlic press to enjoy a long-lasting kitchen tool. After cooking, store your fresh herbs in an herb keeper. Herb keepers reduce moisture and keep cilantro, peppermint and other herbs fresh for an extended time in the refrigerator. You can also use fresh herbs in canning to preserve their fresh flavor.


To preserve herbs, fruits, vegetables and other foods, you need a set of canning jars. Canning jars are designed to withstand the heat of pressure canning and often include lids and rings to seal your jars properly. You can preserve herbs in jelly, such as mint jelly, or by adding them to a fragrant soup or stew. Another option is to use herbs in pickles for a fresh, modern twist on a family favorite. With proper canning and preserving techniques, you can store your summer harvest throughout the winter. Fermenting is also an option if you want to preserve food from your garden, or if you want to shop sales to save during the winter season.


Fermenting is a simple process when you have the right tools. For instance, a mandoline is the ideal tool to shred cabbage for homemade sauerkraut, or you can use a yogurt maker to ferment dough to make sourdough bread. To ferment drinks, such as kombucha or kefir, opt for a glass jar with a fermenting lid. You can also use your herbs to make fresh drinks.


Peppermint is one of the most popular herbs used to make drinks. Add sprigs of fresh mint to lemonade or tea for a refreshing flavor boost, or steep mint in hot water for a soothing tea. Warm drinks are must during winter. Use a tea infuser to make your own seasonal blends, or use your favorite loose leaf tea as a base and add cinnamon, cardamom and other spices to the drink for a warming blend. Using fresh or dried herbs is a simple way to flavor foods and beverages, especially when you have the right tools to cut, blend and preserve herbs.