The pestle dimensions differ. Some are 5 inches long, and others are 5 ½ inches. Some are even longer than that. The mortar dimensions are also varied. Some are 4-1/2" in diameter and 2 inches high. There are also some that are 4 inches in diameter. There are some mortars that are 7 inches and bigger.
The pestle and mortar are employed for grinding, mixing and crushing solid materials. The pestle is a heavy object shaped like a bat. Its end is used to crush and grind objects. The bowl in which these are crushed is the mortar.
The bowl can be made from various materials like granite, stone, marble and wood. To use, one puts the substance in the bowl. The pestle is used to crush it.
The pestle dimensions can determine how easy it will be to crush the substance. The heavier the pestle, the more effective it can be. However, it will also depend on the pressure being put on.
Origin of the Name
The word mortar is taken from the Latin mortarium. This word is translated as product of grinding or pounding or receptacle for pounding. The word pestle is derived from pestillum meaning pounder.
The Romans used the pestle and mortar for preparing medication, something still done today. The use of these tools goes back as far as ancient Egypt. The Egyptian Ebers Papyrus from c. 1550 B.C. shows the Egyptians were familiar with the tools.
Use in Medicine
For thousands of years, the mortar and pestle have been used to prepare different ingredients. When used for pharmacies, the pestle and the mortar are constructed from porcelain. Usually the handle is made from wood. This type is called the Wedgwood mortar and pestle. The pestle dimensions can also determine how easy it is to grind medicine.
Use in Food Preparation
Aside from medicine, the mortar and pestle are used for making food. In particular they can be used to make ingredients for pesto and guacamole. The pestle can also be used to grind spices. It is well known that American Indians use mortar and pestle to crush nuts and corns.
In Japan, the mocha is prepared using very big mortars. The Japanese pestle and mortar are known as suirkogi and suribachi. The granite types are still very popular in many Asian countries.
The trademark of high quality pestle and mortar is being durable enough to grind the material instead of getting worn out. The pestle and mortar cannot be too brittle or they will disintegrate after extensive pounding. It is also crucial that the mortar and pestle are solid.
Unless they are well built, small bits might get mixed in with the substance being crushed. The mortar and pestles should not be porous. Otherwise the crushed substance will end up in the mortar.
If you are using these tools for the first time, the pestle dimensions and those of the mortar must be evaluated thoroughly. Make sure you get tools of the right sizes so it will be easier to mix and crush materials.