11 Things You Didn't Know Were Great to Grate

Photo by Zach DeSartPhoto by Zach DeSartBy Mary-Frances Heck and Danielle Walsh, Bon Appétit

Our latest cool kitchen trick: grating tomatoes. it yields a pure pulp perfectly suited to so many uses. Simply slice in half, then grate the cut side over the coarse holes of a box grater (discard core and any tomato skin left in your hand). That's it!

Whisk the results into vinaigrettes, quick salsas, and gazpacho, or make tomato jam. The slightly chunky pulp also works well in fresh pasta sauces, frittatas, and as a sandwich topper--no peeling or chopping required. --Kay Chun

That's right, graters aren't just for cheese. Here are 10 more things you didn't know you can grate.

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Garlic Instead of painstakingly mincing or using a garlic press, grate garlic on a Microplane to get a fine texture that will cook evenly. It's also great for raw preparations--you don't want to bite into a big piece of raw garlic.

Charcoal If you like your meat to have a super-smoky flavor, think about using charcoal--in the kitchen, not the backyard. "Grating a tiny amount of charcoal into your finishing salt gives you that extra smoky burnt-wood accent," says grilling guru Adam Perry Lang in his new cookbook, Charred & Scruffed. Use about 1 tablespoon to each cup of kosher salt, then pulse together in a spice grinder. Just make sure to use hardwood charcoal that's not chemically treated. Here are our favorite brands.

Potatoes & Root Vegetables Grate these starchy root veggies on the coarse holes of a box grater to make hash browns, rosti, and potato pancakes. Just make sure to squeeze out the excess liquid from the vegetables after you grate.

Ginger and Horseradish Roots like ginger and horseradish that are stringy and fibrous can be difficult to chop into small pieces. Grating them on a Microplane diffuses their flavor through a dish and helps you avoid unpalatable large chunks.

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Frozen Bananas For a chilly (and easy) treat, freeze an unpeeled banana for 6 hours, then grate it through the coarse holes on a box grater. Top with Nutella or chocolate sauce, and you've got yourself dessert.

Cold Butter Make sure your butter is very cold--but not frozen--then use the coarse holes on your box grater to grate over meat or vegetables. This will give you a beautiful, curly butter garnish--and a little bit of wow factor if you do it at the table. And that's a good idea, because the butter will melt quickly.

Toasted Bread Run a piece of dry, toasted bread over the coarse holes of a box grater. Voila! Fresh breadcrumbs.

Carrots Okay, so it's a root vegetable as well, but we're going to single it out. Using a Microplane, grate a little bit of carrot into sauces, like tomato sauce, to add a natural sweetness. Or, grate more and make our Carrot and Yogurt Sauce to use as a sandwich condiment or to dollop on fish.

Eggs Grate hard-boiled eggs into a fluffy pile with a Microplane, then sprinkle the "crumbs" over pasta, asparagus, and salads. It's pretty, and it gives the dishes some richness.

Frozen Foie Gras Take a page out of the book at Manzo in New York City, and use a Microplane to shave some frozen foie gras over your pasta or meat. Much like shaving truffles, you still get the essence and flavor without breaking the bank.

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