I love using herbs to add freshness to everything from frittatas to cocktails, but sometimes the process of removing the leaves from the stems can be a chore (especially when you need a lot of those tiny leaves for your recipe). Herb strippers kind of like this one seem useful, but I'm not always keen to adding single-use gadgets to my already-full kitchen drawers. So when I saw the latest viral TikTok video of herbs being easily removed from their stem using a box grater (which I definitely own and use all the time!), I had to give it a try.
In the video, a woman takes a few sprigs of parsley and puts the stem into a hole of a box grater and pulls it through with her hand from the inside. To the delight of the millions of viewers, all the leaves were perfectly separated from the stem. I went to the little container herb garden on my patio and snipped a few sprigs of rosemary and mint to put this hack to the test.
By sticking the top of the rosemary sprig into the larger-holed side of the grater, I pulled the tip through from the inside. Amazingly enough, the trick worked! I had a little pile of rosemary leaves detached from the woody, inedible stem. Moving on to the mint, I decided to follow the video's lead and used a few stems to pull through the hole at the same time. It worked, but a few of the smaller leaves were left behind. Another editor at BHG.com tried pulling some basil through a box grater and said it did OK, but would rather just pinch the leaves from the stem to prevent having another utensil to clean.
Overall, using a box grater to remove the leaves from your herbs works, but some herbs definitely work better than others. I think it's useful for a more firm or woody stem such as rosemary, though the same TikTok user seemed to be successful in de-stemming dill (which is more delicate) through the smaller holes of her grater. Since it doesn't require adding an extra tool to my kitchen utensil inventory, I'll be using this method for herbal teas and other fresh herb recipes in the future.