I'm a food reporter and this $13 grater is hands-down the best tool in my kitchen

This one tool has three different functioning parts.Rachel Askinasi/Insider
  • My Microplane Ultimate Citrus Tool ($13) is my favorite kitchen gadget.
  • The tool can be used to grate things like ginger root, garlic cloves, and hard cheese as well as to zest citrus.
  • The handheld tool can also be used for scoring and peeling.

While I'm not one for cluttering my kitchen with tools and gadgets, the one that I would always make room for is my Microplane Ultimate Citrus Tool, which I use for more than just citrus. I cook every day, and 90% of what I make has garlic, ginger, or grated cheese in it — if not all three.

My Microplane, hands-down, is the best tool in my kitchen, and it only costs $13.

While I appreciate the fact that the grater and zester is easy to store, I especially love that the stainless-steel blade is easy to clean.Advertisement

The blade is also pretty sharp, so this isn't a tool to use mindlessly while you watch TV and cook at the same time.

I grated Parmigiano-Reggiano directly onto my lunch.Rachel Askinasi/Insider

Most people I know have a box grater, but I find those to be extremely frustrating. Whenever I'm using one, the food that I'm grating inevitably gets stuck on the underside of the grating surface, which means I have to stick my hand in there to try and pull out as much as I can.
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With the Microplane, all I have to do is tap the grater on whatever bowl, pan, or pot I'm grating over and everything comes out seamlessly. Being able to grate or zest directly into my dish is a huge plus; there's no transfer process which means no food bits get left behind.

There's also a longer version of this tool called the Microplane Premium Classic Zester and Grater ($14.99). I don't have this in my own kitchen, but I do use it when I visit my parents. I think the larger zester is a wonderful tool for grating hard cheeses, but I've found that more moist things like citrus zest and ginger root build up inside the bent walls of the stainless-steel piece. While tapping it on the pan usually releases anything that gets caught, sometimes I have to use my hands to push everything out. Advertisement

The Microplane Premium Classic Zester and Grater is ideal for grating hard cheeses, in my opinion.DebbiSmirnoff/Getty Images

Admittedly, I'd never used the peeling or scoring parts of my Microplane tool — but that's because I didn't know they were there until I started writing this column! I loved this tool before, but now it seems even more awesome.

If you're an at-home cocktail aficionado, you could use the garnishing blades to peel twists of citrus for your drinks. I'm not a practicing mixologist, but now that I know I have the ability to make a stunning garnish, I just might give it a try.Advertisement

Garnish adds flavor to a cocktail in addition to making it look pretty.Shutterstock

Between its multifunctionality, easy storage, and the fact that I can simply wipe it down, I think the Microplane is a must-have tool for any home cook. Just do yourself a favor and watch your knuckles while you're zesting — your recipe probably doesn't call for bits of your skin.

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