Grinding your own herbs and spices is a great way to save money, preserve flavor, and make sure that you’re not eating anything with added preservatives. Here’s how to use a herb or spice grinder.
In the past few years there’ve been a lot of “grinder wars” going on across America as chefs and home cooks try to find the best grinder for their needs. The two big contenders are burr grinders (which are more expensive) and blade grinders (which are cheaper).
There are advantages and disadvantages to each type of grinder, but it all comes down to what you’re looking for in the end. If you want a good deal on a top notch grinder, then you should probably look at buying one from a kitchen supply company like Sur La Table, which has some amazing deals on high quality products when they go on sale. But if you just want something to keep the herbs and spices we grow in our gardens fresh tasting without any additives, then a coarse herb grinder will do the trick perfectly.
What Is An Herb/Spice Grinder?
An herb/spice grinder is just what its name implies – a device that allows you to grind up dried herbs and spices into smaller pieces so that you can sprinkle them directly onto foods instead of using whole leaves or flowers. There are many different types of grinder out there, but most of them are made of metal, plastic or both. Some are designed specifically to work with dry herbs, while others are intended for wet ingredients like chocolate or cocoa powder.
You might have seen people grinding herbs in a coffee grinder or even a food processor, but these devices aren’t really suitable for grinding spices because they don’t work well enough to get the job done. It’s also important to know that an herb grinder isn’t the same thing as a spice grinder, although they’re often confused with each other.
A spice grinder is a machine that works by having a metal blade spin very quickly inside a bowl. This generates a lot of heat, which causes the spices or herbs placed inside to explode into tiny bits. These bits are then collected and ground into powder by another spinning metal wheel that acts as a screen.
Choosing Your Herb/Spice Grinder
When deciding on which herb/spice grinder is right for you, think about how much you plan to use the grinder every day. A small tabletop model is perfect for someone who only makes a few small batches of homemade mayonnaise once per week, while a larger, industrial size grinder is great for large households where everyone uses this stuff daily.
Also be aware that certain types of dishes require different grinders than others. For example, if you’re making a soup that requires fresh parsley, you’ll need a grinder that’s more delicate than one that specializes in crushing hard spices like peppercorns or cumin seeds. As far as price goes, you can get a decent herb/spice grinder for less than $20, but if you’re serious about using this tool regularly, you should consider spending a little bit more to ensure that you’re getting the best possible product.
Using Your Herb/Spice Grinder
To begin using your herb/spice grinder, place the entire contents of the container inside the bowl (or bowl insert). Next, put the lid on the container and turn the handle until it reaches the position marked “on”. You can now start grinding the herbs and spices into finer particles by turning the lever clockwise until you reach the point where you feel resistance. At this point, slowly increase the speed of the grinder’s blades by turning the lever counterclockwise so that you gradually decrease the distance between the blades and the bottom of the bowl. Keep doing this process until you feel the blades stop moving.
If you have a handheld grinder, you can keep turning the lever to vary the rate at which the blades move around the bowl. For bigger, stationary models, you can adjust the settings manually by pressing the “on” button and turning the knob on the side of the grinder until it clicks into place. Once you’ve turned the knob, hold it steady until the blades slow down again. Be careful not to turn too fast or else you could damage the grinder.
Once you’ve finished grinding, simply remove the bowl from the grinder and pour everything into a storage container, along with the original container. Now you have freshly ground herbs and spices ready to use in your recipes!