I love my spice grinder. It is, by far, one the the most invaluable tools in my kitchen. I can grind fresh spices into a powder in under 30 seconds with this little darling. And let me tell you, the difference between freshly ground and store bought is astonishing. Flavors are more profound and complex and the aromas are intoxicating. Plus, it’s cheaper to buy whole spices then pre-ground. Some supermarket brands mix in soy and corn based thickeners and emulsifiers into pre-ground spice mixes, which frankly is a little gross.
A spice grinder is not only handy for spices, but it’s great for grinding coffee beans. I grind my lovely fair-trade locally roasted beans weekly, which means I can control the consistency to ensure a lovely thick crema for my morning long macchiato. Yum!
The list is endless. I can make homemade chai tea, pesto and curry pastes in a pinch. I even make my own almond meal, nut butters and aioli with it. Like I said, it’s invaluable!
I use a Breville Coffee and Spice Grinder (BarVista). Retailing at about $60, this little piece of kit not only saves cooking and preparation time, but it’s crazy easy to clean. I chose this model as it has a removable stainless steel ‘bowl’ and lid, which means unlike other models, I can add liquids or wet ingredients and place it in the dishwasher when I’m done. Many spice grinders only allow for dry-grinding, meaning the ‘bowl’ is not sealed and any liquids will seep through the joins into the motor. Yuk.
This model grinds quickly so that the ingredients don’t overheat, which is especially important when making curry pastes, pestos and mayonnaise or aioli. Grinders and processors that overheat easily will effect the flavors, and is most definitely not desirable when working with raw eggs. You don’t want to create a bacteria friendly environment!
Spice grinders have low fine blades that allow you to reduce a very small quantity of spice into a powder or paste. Most food processors or blenders require at least a cup of ingredients to function properly. You could of course use a pestle and mortar (something else that every kitchen should have) to make many of the said recipes. But a spice grinder could save you 10-20 minutes, and often gives you smoother, finer consistency/ It’s also usually easier to clean.
Do shop around when your looking for a grinder. Consider speed, efficiency, flexibility and ease of cleaning. In my opinion, a removable bowl is a must! KitchenAid have just released this little beauty which is very similar to my currently model. Cuisinart Spice and Nut Grinder also seems to rate very highly online. Happy grinding!