You've got a recipe that calls for a little bit of freshly ground black pepper, but you don't want to buy an entire bottle or jar of it. You could just buy pre-ground pepper, but then you'd be missing out on all the extra flavor that comes from fresh-grind pepper. What do you do? If you're like me (and I know many other people who have this problem), then you probably head to the kitchen and start grinding away with a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. But are these really the best ways to grind your spices? And what about those electric spice grinders -- do they work as well? Let's break down some options for each type of machine and find out which will give your spices their best chance at success when putting them through their paces!
There are many different kinds of spices out there, and some demand more care than others. Understanding your spice will help you decide on the best grinding option.
Some spices are particularly damp or steamy, and they'll be hard to grind. They need to be ground quickly because they'll start to lose flavor as soon as they're ground.
If you've got a heap of damp or steamy spices, try grinding them in small batches. This will help them dry out faster and make it easier for your spice grinder to do its job.
If you find yourself with a bunch of moist or steamy ingredients that need to be ground, look at the machines available on the market today—you may want one that's designed specifically for grinding spices instead of other things like coffee beans.
Another thing to consider is that some spices are just better ground with a mortar and pestle. For hard spices like cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon or cardamom, a mortar and pestle is really the only way to go. These types of ingredients need to be ground into a very fine powder—and this can only be done using the traditional method.
The advantage of using a mortar and pestle over an electric grinder is that it gives you more control over how finely you're grinding your spice. Plus, it's also easier on your hands! If you've ever tried to do any type of manual labor for several hours in a row with no breaks then I'm sure you'll appreciate this benefit as well!
For softer spices like dried mild peppers or dried basil, an electric spice grinder is a good choice. These are easy to use and can grind both wet and dry ingredients. They're also easy to clean.
The best electric spice grinder for you will be the one that works best for your needs—and luckily there are many different options out there!
You can also use a food processor! A food processor is great for very fine grinding of dry spices, but it also works well for wet ingredients — just don't put too much in at once. It may be a little messy if your mixture contains liquids or oils (and you may have to stop the motor and stir things up), but overall it's an efficient way to grind herbs, seeds and powders into usable powder.
Coffee grinders can also be used for grinding spices, though they should not be used with wet ingredients. While coffee grinders aren't designed to handle wet ingredients, they will do an adequate job at grinding soft spices like peppercorns and cinnamon sticks.
If you're looking for an inexpensive option that's easy to clean but still gives you control over how fine or coarse the final product is, a coffee grinder might be a good choice. If you have a lot of spices to use up in one go (or want to make sure your spices are fresh) then investing in a quality electric spice grinder may be worth it.
Grinding spices is both a messy and time-consuming job, so it's important to choose the right machine for the job. Grinding spices correctly will help you get better flavor from your food when cooking.
The wrong type of spice grinder can produce an inconsistent powder that doesn't deliver all of its flavor potential to your dish. In some cases, this could mean wasted money and effort since you won't be able to use all of your supplies before they go stale or freezer burn sets in.
When choosing a machine, keep these things in mind:
We hope this article has helped you to understand the different kinds of machine that can be used for grinding spices. It's important to know what kind of spice you're working with so that it doesn't end up being ruined by the wrong machine. If you're looking for an electric option, our pick for best overall is the Cuisinart DBM-8 Supreme Grind Automatic Burr Mill Grinder because it has all of the features we were looking for in an electric spice grinder -- including a capacity large enough to handle any amount of herbs or spices!