From Season 6: Cooking with Squash
Before testing nutmeg graters, we ran a couple of tests to see if grating fresh nutmeg is worth the effort. We found that in something like a béchamel sauce or eggnog, where there are no other spices to compete with it, fresh-ground nutmeg contributes a distinctively heady flavor that we really like. In baked goods that call for lots of spices, however, such as spice cookies, we found that the signature flavor of fresh-ground nutmeg was lost; ground nutmeg from a jar works just fine in such recipes.
With the holiday season and egg nog in mind, then, we purchased the following: three nutmeg mills, which work just like pepper mills and so keep your fingers completely safe; a new-style grater designed especially to keep your fingers out of harm's way; an old-style nutmeg grater; and a rasp grater for spices.
Only one of the mills produced a neat and even grind in good time. It is pricey, though, at $21.54. The new-style grater does protect your fingers, but it produced painfully little grated nutmeg. To use it, you put a whole nutmeg in a plastic hopper, secure the spring-loaded cap on top, then slide the cap back and forth to grate the nutmeg. The oldest-style nutmeg grater comes in the form of a metal cylinder; the curves are intended to keep your fingertips away from the teeth as you grate. We tested one that cost just $2, but it brought our fingers perilously close to the grating teeth.
The spice rasp grater has, in addition to a comfortable handle, a slender, tightly curled, 5-inch-long grating surface that provides a good margin of safety for your fingertips. It also produced mounds of nutmeg in no time flat and can also be used for grating nuts and chocolate; it's our top choice based on price, ease of use, and output.
Victorinox (formerly Victorinox Forschner) 6-inch Straight Boning Knife: Flexible
The nonslip grip and narrow, straight blade let testers remove the smallest bones with precision and complete comfort. Perfectly balanced with enough flexibility to maneuver around tight joints. The low price was a bonus.
|★ ★ ★||★ ★ ★||$19.95|
Wüsthof Classic Boning Knife
Hefty in weight, this knife was a solid performer when removing poultry bones, and the handle was easy to grip, even when covered in chicken fat. Piercing silver skin was a challenge since the tip wasnt sharp enough and the long narrow blade produced slightly jagged cuts.
|★ ★||★ ★ ★||$99.95|
|Recommended with Reservations|
Mundial Boning Knife: Flexible
The sharp tip performed well when removing silver skin, but it was too flexible when maneuvering around poultry joints, leaving testers feeling a lack of control. The heavy handle was slightly unbalanced and became slippery once covered in poultry fat.
|★ ★||★ ★||$19.95|
Shun Gokujo Filet Knife
Designed to replicate a samurai blade, this expensive knife was a disappointment. It struggled to pierce the silver skin, although long cuts were smooth and even. Minimal flexibility and extreme curve got in the way when maneuvering around joints. The smooth handle was hard to grip and slippery.
MAC Boning KnifeChef Series
The large, cumbersome handle reminded testers of an outdoors knife for fishing and hunting. The blade was too wide to maneuver around joints and it struggled to pierce silver skin. Unlike other knives, this boning knife could only slice in one direction, making intricate cuts around joints difficult.
Messermeister San Moritz Elite Flexible Boning Knife
The blade was so flexible it led to erratic cuttings; testers said the knife was hard to control. The blade was not sturdy enough to maneuver around joints and the lightweight handle felt flimsy and unbalanced.