Like many hobbies and addictions the love of cooking and delicious food can become expensive. A fine set of knives, gourmet ingredients, an excellent set of pans and other kitchen equipment can set you back quite a bit. There is one simple tool that can be added to a kitchen that can be very inexpensive and still improve your quality of cooking tremendously; a spice grinder.
Spices add a depth and complexity to food’s flavor and aroma. Most of us store spices in less than ideal conditions, keeping tiny glass jars on a rack where they are subject to damaging light and heat. You often will hear that we should clean out our spice racks every 6 months; that all our little bottles should be discarded or emptied and refilled. In the average home that does not happen, and even before 6 months they have lost much of their depth of flavor and aroma by the time they are used. Additionally there is no way to know for sure how old most store bought products are when they are purchased. Whole spices can last quite a bit longer. When placed in a grinder the essential oils are released freshly providing the full character and bouquet.
There is a wide variety of spice grinders to choose from, both manual and electric and coming in a wide range of prices. A pepper mill is an example of a manual machine that most of us are familiar with. Most manual grinders work in a similar manner where torque is exerted on one part of the grinder via a handle. In some cases a burr is used, grinding together like a gear. In others models a grooved plate is rotated over a second grooved plate. The seeds are fed down through plates with smaller and smaller openings to provide a finer grind. Manual mills make a beautiful presentation and are an excellent choice when this is important, such as tableside cooking.
Electric or battery operated machines will naturally be much easier to operate. They run at a much higher speed so they can very simply grind even the hardest seed or nut into a fine power. These mills do create a much higher heat which in some cases can be damaging if a delicate herb is being ground. The majority of electric machines are duplicates of coffee mills which have a propeller like blade that spins at a high rate. They are simple to operate, whatever needs to be ground is dropped into the receptacle, and even a mixture can be used. The fineness of the grind is regulated by simply controlling the amount of time the machine is operated. Though there are specialty grinders for items such as nutmeg or cinnamon, these electric grinders will be sufficient for most home cooks.
You will never want to mix purposes with these machines. Though coffee mills can be used to grind spices, they should be used for exclusively for each purpose. They are simple to use and to clean, but coffee will never taste the same after even a short use with anything other than coffee beans.
Have a look at what is available, and see if there is anything that would work well in your kitchen: Buy Spice Grinders Online.