For the freshest pepper, you need to use a grinder. Whole peppercorns contain volatile oils that release when the peppercorn gets cracked and ground up. Similar to coffee beans, the oils dissipate quickly, which decreases flavor over time. By using a grinder, you’re ensuring your pepper’s taste and aroma is as flavorful as possible, intensifying every dish.
The best salt and pepper grinders do just what we expect them to do: grind salt and pepper. But did you know they can go well beyond that? You can use your pepper grinder as a spice mill, to crush dehydrated fruit for ice cream toppings and for other jobs.
Quick fact: While it might seem like it would be no big deal, you don’t want to put coarse salt into your pepper grinder. There’s a reason why they are sold separately. Salt mills use ceramics in their grinding mechanisms, and pepper mills use carbon steel. Using salt in a pepper grinder can actually corrode the steel.
You’ll also want to “dry clean” your mill before switching ingredients, because some won’t be compatible with water. Instead, use raw white rice to help whisk away any residue and oils.
Here’s a list of several unexpected ingredients you can grind at home in your pepper mill.
Ingredients The Best Salt And Pepper Grinders Can Handle
Sugar: If you need powdered sugar but only have granulated sugar on hand, there’s no need to run to the store. Simply add sugar to your mill and twist until you’ve got all you need.
Freeze-dried strawberries: Top ice cream with bits of freeze-dried strawberry sprinkles that you made yourself. Use your pepper mill to grind smaller pieces into a dusting of strawberry goodness.
Spice blends: Load your pepper mill with dehydrated onion, red pepper, rosemary, oregano, basil, thyme, salt and garlic flakes for homemade pizza seasoning that’s way more fresh than the stuff out of a packet.
Coriander seeds: Add crushed coriander to add a bright, lemony, floral flavor to a dish. Ground coriander is used for curries, soups and stir-fries, while whole seeds are typically reserved for creating spice blends.
Dehydrated garlic: Dried garlic can be ground down into small flakes or a fine powder, either of which can be added to enhance food or used to create flavored salt. The drier the seasoning or herb, the better it will work in the grinder.
Coffee Beans: Fresh, coarse-ground coffee makes for a rich cup. Using a pepper mill, you can prep beans for your French press in seconds flat.
Cornflakes: Make breadcrumb-like toppings for dishes that require a fine coating or dusting by adding cornflakes cereal to your grinder. This can also be a good way to prep breading for homemade fried chicken.
Allspice: Get an intense flavor with each turn of the grinder. While allspice already is bursting with flavor, fresh allspice takes it to another level. Just imagine what a fresh sprinkling would taste like topped on eggnog.
Flaxseed: Hard seeds, such as flaxseed, can be ground up in a twist grinder. Add one to two tablespoons of ground flaxseed to smoothies to help protect yourself against certain cancers and cardiovascular diseases. Vegans can also mix ground flaxseed with water to create an egg substitute.
If you’re in the market for a new set and want to be sure you purchase the best salt and pepper grinders, check out our favorites.
Who knew this trusted gadget could do so much more than just crush up those two kitchen staples?