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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Importance of a Spice Grinder

Why does any kitchen need a spice grinder? Have you ever seen one and asked yourself this question? Me, I honestly prefer a mortar and pestle, but some people use electronic spice grinders, and they all do the same thing. Still, why does a kitchen need one?

Have you ever seen a recipe call for a ground spice or herb, and you have the required spice or herb, but it is not in ground form. It is flakes, it is whole, it is otherwise not ground, but you do have it. This is why any kitchen should have something to grind spices with. Plus, a mortar and pestle, or a spice grinder, allows you to blend spices and herbs rather easily.



Some of my favorite spices are coriander and various types of peppercorns. For me, it is cheaper to buy the whole spice and grind it myself as I need it. Also, you get more of the spice's flavor from grinding it, as it allows for more of the spice to dissolve into the food. Whole coriander and whole peppercorns can be aggressive and overly potent if used and chewed. Personally, I love the flavor of coriander, but I absolutely hate biting into a whole seed and getting that rush of flavor from it. I'd rather have a mild coriander flavor throughout the dish, rather than whole seeds laying around.


So I use a mortar and pestle or some other form of grinding implement, and I grind the spices and herbs as coarse or as fine as I desire. This is also a wonderful way to work out aggression and stress; pulverizing spices and herbs into fine powder that you can cook with later. Another use for these tools is blending together spices and herbs to make your own seasoning mixture. You could make a pre-blended mix of apple pie or pumpkin pie spices. This would take guesswork and measure out of making pies later, especially if you seal your ground spices in pre-measured doses.


Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/4 cup ground cinnamon
2 tbsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cardamom (optional)
Apple Pie Spice
1/4 cup ground cinnamon
1 tbsp ground allspice
2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cardamom (optional)

Another wonderful use, is you can make rubs for steaks and pork chops. Keep your favorite homemade blend near the grill so it's always there. You could blend together your own curry powder as well for making a warm delicious curry during the cold winter months.

Curry Powder:

2 TSP Whole Coriander
2 TSP Whole Cumin
1 TSP Ground Ginger
1/2 TSP Whole Cloves
1 1/2 TSP Cardamom
1/2 TSP Cinnamon
1 TSP Dried Turmeric
1.5 TSP Cayenne or Ancho Pepper Powder, more or less for your preferred level of heat

Toast the cloves, cumin, and coriander in a lightly oiled pan over medium heat for about 5-10 minutes, until they begin change color and become more aromatic. Combine all the ingredients in a mortar and pestle or some other spice grinder, and grind into a fine powder. Store for later use. It's that simple.

So, you are sitting there, reading this, and realizing you don't have a spice grinder. Well, anything that grinds will work fine, such as a coffee grinder (just make sure you clean it well before using it for spices). Go get yourself a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle, and explore your own flavors and combinations, but before I let you go, I will leave you with my homemade chili powder recipe.

Druid's Chili Powder

1 TBSP Dried and Crushed Chipotle Chile Peppers
1 TBSP Dried and Crushed Chiles de Arbol
1 TSP Dried Minced Garlic
1 TSP Dried Minced Onion
1/2 TSP Mustard Seed
1 TSP Whole Coriander
2 TSP Whole Cumin

Mix up as much or as little as you need, grind it down into a fine powder, and store it away for future use. Very simple, and very flavorful, and you can use as much or as little as you desire to heat your favorite chili.

~Bon App├ętit~

Molcajete - Authentic Mexican Mortar and Pestle (Google Affiliate Ad)
Cuisinart Stainless Steel Spice And Nut Grinder - SG-10 (Google Affiliate Ad)

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