Why choose Global Grinders?

It has come to our attention lately that cheap imitations of our grinders have recently appeared in the market.

Some of them look so much like ours, that it is difficult to tell the difference. Others look like cheap imitations.

The best way to compare them, is to test them for yourselves:

We suggest you try and grind three full containers bottles/jars of your products with one of these grinders. If you use rock salt in your range, this would be the best test.

  • Does the grinder past this test, without seizing up?
  • Does the grinder have the clarity of Global’s grinders?
  • Does the grinder feel firm or wobbly on the bottle?
  • Is the grind consistent?
  • Does the grinder itself have adjustability for a coarse or fine grind?
  • If it does and this works by pulling the grinder up for a coarser grind and pushing it down for a finer grind, it is no doubt infringing our patent.

Other points to consider are:

  • Will the supplier send you samples, free of charge, to test on your production line?
  • Will the supplier adjust the delivery of the product flow, and coarseness of the product ground, to suit your needs?
  • Is the packaging (boxes, pallets, etc), provided free of charge.
  • Will the supplier replace any stock, free of charge, should you be unhappy with it at all, for a legitimate reason.
  • Will the supplier hold reserve stock, even for a custom made product, if requested?
  • Will the supplier split your order over a colour range to your specifications and add your logo for free?
  • Will you get the overall after sales experience?
  • Will the supplier guarantee that the grinder he supplied you is totally BPA free, if required?
  • What will the cost of the mould be, if you are making your own design?
  • Does the supplier have product liability insurance?
  • Does the supplier have recall insurance?
  • Will the supplier provide you with extended credit terms?

 global-grinders-perfect-grind

Choosing the Right Spice Grinders for Your Business

Whether you are starting your own spice business in the new year, or you are aiming to add spices to your existing product range, finding the right spice grinders is essential. For consumers faced with a myriad choices on the market today, standing out from the competition can be challenging.

Choosing the right grinder for your business

Larger scale and smaller businesses both need to ensure that their products are packaged safely, efficiently and attractively. You might have a stellar marketing plan and an eye-catching label, but if your spices are stale or stored in a way that puts consumers at risk, your business will not thrive. Grinder sets are designed with functionality in mind. They need to not only provide a vessel for your spices, but also maintain your product on the shelf.

What to Consider When Ordering Spice Grinders in Bulk

What should you look for when purchasing spice grinders in large volumes? The following factors should all be considered before placing your order:

#1 Bottle Material.

Spice bottles are typically available in a choice of glass or plastic. If you choose plastic, it is best to look for a supplier that offers PET plastic. Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is safe plastic that is used in the food and beverage industry. This material is easily recycled, making it a good choice for eco-conscious manufacturers. It is also strong, durable and non-toxic. Glass bottles have a higher price range, but a higher retail value for finished products. These bottles are recyclable and reusable, while also being safe and sterile to use for spices. Depending on your requirements and budget, you may find that PET bottles, glass bottles or a combination of both may be used.

#2 Bottle Size.

Another thing to consider is the size of the bottle. The standard size for spice bottles is 100ml. This size will suit a large number of commercial uses, from retail to hospitality. Smaller sized bottles are also available, such as the 80ml bottle. This can be an excellent choice for sample sets, gift sets or hospitality industries that require smaller volumes. Larger sized bottles range from 200ml to 325ml and 375ml. These are ideal for the catering and hospitality industries. If you have a small spice business, you may find that standard sized bottles are the most versatile choice. Restaurants, hotels and other enterprises may find that a combination of bottle sizes is more effective.

#3 Grinder Styles.Grinder tops come in a variety of styles. Standard

Grinder tops come in a variety of styles. Standard grinders are made from high-grade materials that enable smooth grinding when the top is turned clockwise or anti-clockwise. Adjustable grinders allow consumers to alternate between course and finely ground spices by pushing down or pulling up the grinder top. Fixed lid and screw tops are also available.

#4 Flip Top Closures.

In addition to grinder tops, you can also select flip top closures that work with pre-ground spice and herbs. For those in the spice business, these are a good way to extend a product range or add to an existing range. Closures range from fine sprinkler closures to tea spoon closures, wider sprinklers and dual closures.

#5 Liners. Tamper proof liners are essential for any spice packaging and sales. These ensure that your spice stays fresh on the shelf. They also provide consumers with peace of mind in knowing that the product has not been opened after spices have been packed. At Global Grinders, some grinder sets and closures have built-in liners, while other liners can be purchased separately.

As a specialist in the spice bottle and grinder industry, Global Grinders has been supplying companies of all sizes with functional, attractive bottles, grinders and sets. We also offer value-added services, such as our tamper free liners. To learn more about our current range, visit us online or view our spice grinder product catalogue.

Choosing the Right Tamper Proof Lining for Spice Grinders

Tamper proof linings are essential for wholesale spice grinders, ensuring that your spices are able to stay as fresh as possible on the shelf after they have been packaged. The type and style of liner to use will often come down to your specific requirements as well as the content of the bottles. For spice grinder sets, other factors to consider include the material of the bottle. Plastic bottles and glass bottles have different properties that can impact the effectiveness of the lining. Liners are used for many purposes – to keep foods such as spices dry and fresh, to prevent leaks and to ensure consumer safety.

It’s always a good idea to consider liners in the costing of your final product. You may find that a pressure sensitive foam liner is a most efficient, cost-effective option, or you may find that induction seals are a better choice. In this handy guide, we compare the two main types of tamper lining to see the best option for spice grinders.

How to Seal Bulk Spice Grinders

Choosing the Right Tamper Proof Lining for Spice Grinders

The two types of tamper lining available as a value added service at Global Grinders includes the following:

#1 Pressure Sensitive Foam Liner

This type of liner works well for dry products, making it ideal for spices. The liner has an adhesive side that sticks to the grinder bottle, using pressure to secure the closer to the bottle. Once the closer is removed, the liner stays on the top of the container. This liner can be applied manually and works on both glass and plastic spice bottles. It is a cost-effective option for products that need to be sealed, as no additional equipment is needed to seal the bottle. This option does not work for liquid products however. Application areas need to be completely free of moisture, or otherwise the liner will not be able to adhere to the bottle. This liner has a shelf life of about six months – this is important to note when determining your packaging life cycle.

The primary benefits of pressure sensitive liners (also known as PS liners) include a very strong seal that keeps freshness in without the risk of air entering the bottle, along with the fact that once the liner is removed, it cannot be reapplied again.

#2 Induction Liners

Induction liners are comprised of multiple layers of pulpboard, wax and foil, with a polymer coating. A special induction machine is required to apply these liners. The machine melts the wax and polymer, creating a hermetic seal once it solidifies. There are two types of induction liner. One piece liners are made of a foam or paper packed laminate. After sealing, the entire liner is removed from the cap when the spice bottle is opened. Two piece liners have an added wax and pulpboard layer. During heating, the wax melts and absorbed into the pulp to release it from the foil liner. The pulpboard remains inside the cap. Liners include single or multiple pull tabs, or a lift and peel tab. During sealing, a foil laminate inner seal is bonded to the lip of the bottle. Once the bottle is filled with spices and capped with this type of liner, it is passed through the sealing system.

This option is suitable for liquid and dry ingredients. The main benefits to this liner is that the liner cannot be reapplied to the container once it is removed, as well as the fact that an airtight seal is created. It is often best used on plastic spice bottles, as the heating process is better suited to plastic. Glass heats, making it potentially dangerous during the sealing process unless handled carefully.

Both of these tamper proof linings offer value to wholesale customers. To find out more about our full range of spice grinders and value added services, contact Global Grinders today.

Corporate Gift Ideas – Branded Spice Grinders

Branded spice grinders can be a perfect choice for corporate gifts. Better still, this gift idea is relatively simple to prepare. Global Grinders offers a wide range of grinders to suit every requirement, from larger sized bottles in glass, plastic and PET to tops and closures. We also provide ready to grind sets that have everything you need to get started. Once you have selected your grinders, you can prepare labels yourself or have some professionally made. You can then fill your customised grinders with delicious, fresh spices.

Corporate Gift Ideas Branded Spice Grinders

Branded Spice Grinder Tips for Corporate Gifts

As the year draws to a close, many companies are looking at simple, effective corporate gift ideas to present to customers. Simple gifts such as food and drink related items have a universal appeal. Some tips on how to use spice grinders for your corporate gifting include the following:

  • Choose the best quality grinders your budget allows. Glass grinder bottles will look better, last longer and be less likely to be tossed out. You can even make the bottles reusable by adding a note on how to remove labels by soaking them in hot water, baking soda and vinegar. Poor quality plastic bottles may end up sending your clients the wrong message; making your brand look cheap in the process. You can find good quality grinder bottle sets at Global Grinders in a variety of sizes.
  • If you do choose plastic, make it PET. PET bottles are easier to recycle, making them the best choice for plastic bottles. They are also sturdier and available in a range of sizes and styles. The PET manufacturing process is more sustainable than regular plastic, which in turn helps to minimise the carbon footprint of each bottle produced. Be sure to add a note reminding clients to recycle the bottles after use.
  • Try a set of mini spice samples. One way to stretch out your budget is to buy smaller sized bottles that can be used for mini spice samples. If your industry is within the food, hospitality or leisure markets, this can be especially effective. Shop for bulk spices at a quality spice market, filling each mini bottle with interesting, flavoursome spices. Your clients are far more likely to remember a tasty selection of spices that are cleverly packaged than a single salt or pepper that can easily be purchased at a supermarket.
  • Choose quality spices. Needless to say, even if you are purchasing spices in bulk at a local market, it is essential to ensure that the spices are high quality and fresh. There is little point to giving corporate gifts such as spice if they are not going to be enjoyed. Wherever possible, aim for whole spices that can be ground directly in the grinders. Supermarket spices often have additives or preservatives, which are never ideal, so stick to a decent spice merchant that specialises in wholesale spice.
  • Don’t shy away from cheesy puns. The aim of corporate gifts is twofold. On one hand, you are thanking your loyal customers for their service. On the other hand, you are subtly promoting your brand to maintain that loyalty. Puns may seem silly, but it can be worthwhile putting thought into clever labels that make people remember your brand. You don’t have to get carried away – keep it simple and light and your gift recipients should be suitably impressed.

To learn more about the range of spice grinders available at Global Grinders, view our product range or contact us today with any enquiries you have.

How to Clean and Reuse Glass Spice Grinders

One of the top reasons to invest in quality spice grinders is that you can reuse them again and again. Glass bottles will last for many years if they are properly cleaned between uses. You don’t need any expensive ingredients or complicated equipment, either. In addition to storing your favourite whole spices, you can also use your grinders for other purposes once the bottles are cleaned and dried.

How to Clean and Reuse Glass Spice Grinders

In this short guide, we’ll take a look at how you can clean and reuse spice grinders so that they last as long as possible.

Repurposing Your Old Glass Spice Grinders

Before we begin, it is important to note that while glass grinder bottles will last a long time, plastic bottles may not last as long. These can be reused for a while, but as plastic absorbed odours and is more subject to wear and tear; they likely won’t be the best choice for long-term repurposing. You can however clean and recycle your old plastic bottles. Flip tops and grinder lids may also need to be replaced if you are reusing your grinder bottles for spices. The good news is that you can buy separate lids and closers from a spice grinder supplier such as Global Grinders.

Some tips for cleaning and reusing your bottles include the following:

  • Soak thoroughly in hot water. For a simple yet effective natural solution, mix a little bit of dish soap with some bicarbonate of soda and a bit of white vinegar. This mixture will clean and remove odours. You will find it easier to remove labels on glass after a good soak as well. Leave in this soapy mixture for a few hours, or even overnight. Afterwards, you can wash as normal in the sink.
  • Dry completely before using the bottle. Set the bottles on a kitchen towel or cloth or on a draining board. Allow to air-dry completely before reusing the bottles. Trapped moisture can result in spoilage if you plan to use the bottles for new spices. Moisture can also cause salt to crystallise or sweat. Leave for a good few hours in a ventilated space so that the bottles have enough time to dry on the inside.
  • Don’t forget to clean the lids and grinder tops as well. These can be soaked along with your bottles and then left to dry. When drying the flip top lids, leave these open so that air can travel through the top without any moisture being trapped in the top’s hinges or lid. Keep the plastic away from direct sunlight, to preserve the life of the closures.
  • Once bottles are clean and dry, add your spices. Try your favourite salt varieties, pink or black peppercorns, coriander seeds, dried herbs, cardamom or any other spice that you enjoy. Visit your local spice market and buy your spices fresh. These are often better quality than pre-packaged spices you will find at a supermarket, and often have more flavour.
  • Or, reuse for non-spicy things. In addition to spice, there are many other non-spice things you can grind in a grinder. Sugar, Dorito’s, roasted sunflower or sesame seeds, Cornflakes poppy seeds, flaxseed, rice and even dried insects, if you are so inclined. Who says you have to limit your grinder to spices, after all?

Whatever you plan to do with your spice grinders once they’re clean and dried, remember that you can find a huge range of bottles, grinders and lids right here at Global Grinders.

Delicious Salt Varieties to Enhance Any Meal

In addition to fresh whole spices, spice grinders can also be used for salt. With so many varieties of salt on the market today, we are no longer limited to regular table salt. Technically, the term used to describe a large percentage of salts is crystal salt. The differences in taste, shape and colour come from where the salt has been mined from land or sea. Table salts often have added chemicals included in their composition, while mined salts sourced from natural mines or from the sea are often considered purer.

Delicious Salt Varieties to Enhance Any Meal

While the debates will likely continue on whether or not ‘pure’ salts have any major benefits, what you can be sure of is that all salts have their own unique taste and their own ability to enhance your meals.

To help you learn a bit about what sales you can add to your salt grinder, we have put together a list on some of the salt varieties that are available in South Africa.

Add These Salts to Your Salt Grinder

Every foodie could do with some variety now and then, which is why it is always a good idea to invest in a few good quality salt grinders to store and grind your favourite salts. As for what type of salt you can choose from, we suggest trying some of these varieties…

  • Himalayan salt. Also known as pink salt, the current salt du jour is rock salt that comes from the Punjab region of Pakistan. The foothills of the salt range are located 310km from the Himalayas. Many crystals have an off-white or even clear colour, while the pink colour seen in this salt comes from impurities that are non-harmful for consumption. Course pink salt goes well with every type of food and has the added advantage of looking good in your grinder, too.
  • Sea salt. This type of salt is mined from the ocean, or from salt water lakes. There is very little processing involved in the production of this salt, which is produced through evaporation of sea water. Depending on where the salt water comes from, a number of trace minerals and elements are left behind, adding flavour and colour to the salt. Sea salt is available in various levels of coarseness, but even large chunks can easily be ground in a spice grinder. This salt is also versatile for cooking and meals.
  • Kosher salt. You may have heard this term before. Also known as koshered salt, this salt is an unrefined salt that has large, course flakes. This salt is extremely versatile and can be used for seasoning as well as cooking. There are many different varieties of kosher salt available, too, including sea salt and rock salt.
  • Desert salt. In South Africa, the desert landscapes of the Kalahari have revealed an ancient underground lake that is fed by subterranean streams. Salt water from this lake has been sustainably harvested and evaporated on a pan using natural processes. There are a few brands offering desert salt from this region – as long as the salt is harvested sustainably, they are all worth trying.
  • Other salts. While not all of these salts are mined locally, you may come across more exotic salts that have been imported into South Africa. Hawaiian salt is an unrefined sea salt mixed with red volcanic clay. It has an unusual pinkish brown colour that is produced by the red clay. This salt is not cheap however – and not all of it is authentic and produced in Hawaii. Another unusual salt is black lava salt, which is sea salt that is harvested and coloured with activated charcoal.

Whichever type of salt you love the most, keeping it fresh in a good quality spice grinder will ensure that it’s always ready to grind, whenever you need it.

Recharge Your Coffee With These Freshly Ground Spices

There are many ways to add flavour to your brewed coffee, and freshly ground spices are one of the healthiest ways to enhance a cup of java. If you are tired of the usual sugar and milk combination that you always stick to, try one of these spicy blends the next time you put a pot of coffee on the machine.

Recharge Your Coffee With These Ground Spices

For best results, use good quality ground coffee in a plunger or a machine. Grind your selected whole spices just before you start making the coffee, then add them to the ground coffee and make as usual. This will allow the spices to infuse into the coffee as it percolates, which in turn will ensure full flavour and aroma.

Best Whole Spices to Add to Your Coffee

Depending on your mood and taste preferences, you could choose to add any of the following whole spices to your coffee…

  • Cardamom. This exotic spice is frequently used for coffee in the Middle East. Commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine, it is said to help neutralise the stimulating effects of caffeine. It also adds a delicious dose of flavour. Grind a few whole cardamom seeds and then sprinkle the powder into your coffee before brewing.
  • Salt. As strange as it sounds, many believe that salt helps to balance the bitterness of strong coffee. Of course, a good quality coffee that is made properly won’t be bitter, but freshly ground salt can maximise the flavour of coffee. It is said to be especially effective in cold coffee.
  • Cinnamon. Warm, delicious and full of flavour, cinnamon has plenty of health benefits, too. Try breaking up a stick and placing small chunks of bark into your spice grinder. You can then grind the bark directly over your ground coffee before brewing.
  • Cocoa or Cacao Nibs. For a dose of healthy chocolate goodness, try grinding cocoa or cacao nibs over your coffee before brewing. While not quite a spice, this raw chocolate makes an excellent addition to your coffee. Dried, fermented cocoa or cacao beans are crunchy with a nutty, less creamy flavour compared to dark chocolate. The nibs have many health benefits, and do not contain added sugars and preservatives.
  • Nutmeg. You can grate nutmeg directly over your coffee before roasting for depth and earthy sweetness, or prepare grated nutmeg in advance and grind the grated pieces after they have dried out. The warm smell of this spice makes it amazing, while the taste is sure to add an extra something to your favourite coffee blends.
  • Moroccan Blend. Cinnamon, black peppercorns, ginger, nutmeg, green cardamom and clove are used in a traditional Moroccan spice blend made especially for coffee. Prepare the spices by grinding before you start the coffee, or make a slightly large amount to have on hand.

Make sure that you have a selection of good quality spice grinders to grind and store your favourite spices. This will make it easier to prepare your own custom coffee blends using whichever whole spices suit your current mood.

Choosing the Best Peppercorn For Your Spice Grinder

One of the most ubiquitous whole spices used in spice grinders all over the world is without a doubt the humble peppercorn. This spice can be found in almost every part of the world, and is used in almost every global cuisine. While black pepper is the best known of all the peppercorn varieties, there are also other varieties that can add plenty of flavour, aroma and complexity to dishes.

Best Types of Peppercorn to Use in Your Spice Grinder

It is important to note that until you have tasted freshly ground pepper milled directly onto food, you cannot truly appreciate the taste of this heady spice. Equal parts pungent, rich and sharp, the taste and smell is distinctive, working well over a simple piece of avocado toast, perfectly brewed cup of chai or an elaborate five-star dish worthy of MasterChef. Already ground pepper is very different to freshly ground, with much of the flavour and freshness lost within 30 days of the spice being ground. As peppercorns are ground whole, the flavour is protected inside the outer shell of the dried berry. The grinding mechanism of a spice grinder breaks through this shell, releasing the flavour inside.

The scent of whole peppercorns does however reveal a hint of the flavour to come. If you visit a spice market, and compare different peppercorn varieties, you will soon notice this subtle difference in aroma.

Which Peppercorns Should You Have in Your Pepper Grinders?

As each kind offers its own distinct flavour, you may find that it’s handy to have a few different kinds of peppercorn. Stocking up on a few good quality spice grinders is the best way to grow your spice collection and enjoy delicious, fresh, whole spices for every meal.

All pepper comes from the same plant – Piper nigrum. Varieties differ according to when the berries are picked, and how they are processed to achieve the final colour and flavour.

  • Green Peppercorns.  Popular in Thai, French and Creole cuisine, green peppercorns are picked before the berries have matured, while they are still in their green stage. They are typically air-dried, freeze-dried or pickled in brine to avoid fermentation and keep them from ripening after plucking. This type of pepper is aromatic and fresh, but milder than other types. This type is often used in traditional peppercorn sauces. As a fair amount of processing is required, and the yield is often smaller for immature berries, they cost bit more than black or white peppercorns.
  • Pink or Rose Pepper.  Pink pepper is not a true pepper, but is actually a dried berry from a tree that is found on the island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean. Often, in cookbooks and supermarkets, this type of pepper is called ‘red peppercorns’ – true red peppercorns are very rare however. The flavour is very similar to black pepper, but a little milder and sweeter. It can be on the pricey side as berries are imported and therefore not easily found at spice markets and supermarkets.
  • White Peppercorns.  White peppercorns are fully mature berries that are picked when partially ripe. Their skins are removed by soaking the berries in water for a few days and then rubbing them off manually or mechanically. The smell is earthy, while the taste is hot and spicy. As the flavour is very distinctive, it is often used in sauces, soups and dishes rather than as a final seasoning on its own. The additional processing steps also make this pepper slightly more expensive than black pepper, even when buying spices from the same region.
  • Black Peppercorns.  The most common type of pepper, black peppercorns are mature berries that are picked before ripening, as they begin to move from green to yellow. The berries are boiled briefly, then left to ferment and dry in the sun or dried by air heating, until they turn black and wrinkled. The taste is moderately spicy, especially when ground from whole peppercorns.

Each peppercorn has its own place in your spice grinder, as you can see! Try them all, and you will soon begin to enjoy the versatility and taste that freshly ground peppercorns add to your meals.

How to Use Whole Spices to Make the Perfect Chai Blend

With winter on its way, spicy, warming hot drinks such as chai offer the best way to put your whole spices to use. While it is not hard to find pre-made chai drinks in the supermarket, making this drink from scratch using freshly ground spices will not only add more flavour, but will also give you the full range of health benefits offered by spices in their whole form.

Using Whole Spices to Make the Perfect Chai Blend

The best part is that once you have made your own chai blend, you are not only limited to using the blend for tea. You can also add to baked goods, your morning oats or over fruit and yogurt. These spices can easily be found in whole form at your local spice market or supermarket. Make sure that you buy them whole so that you can get the full burst of flavour.

Make Chai This Winter With Your Spice Grinder and Fresh Spices

Chai is an Indian drink that loosely translates to ‘tea’. The most popular type is masala chai, which means ‘mixed spice tea’. A blend of aromatic spices are combined with black tea (or Rooibos, for a caffeine-free version) and cooked in a pot or kettle on the stove. Spices traditionally used in this drink include green cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, ground cloves, ground ginger and black peppercorn. With the help of a quality spice grinder, and of course, fresh spices that are prepared for grinding, you can perfect the art of chai.

Some tips to keep in mind when preparing your own chai blend include the following:

  • Whole vs ground spice. It may be tempting to start with ready ground spices, but even if this seems easier and faster, it will have a major effect on the overall quality of the blend. Remember that ground spices lose a lot of their original nutrients and flavour. Many brand name spices sit in warehouses and on the shelves for long periods of time, and some have been treated with preservatives or radiation to maintain shelf life. Some brands even add flavouring to aromatic spices such as cinnamon, while others use a cheaper, lower quality spice to cut costs. Grinding your own is worth the effort, always!
  • Preparing the ginger. You could use slices of fresh ginger if you are making a small batch that is enough for one or two servings of chai. Ideally, you want to be able to keep your blend at least a few days. To prepare the ginger, start by drying it out. If you have a food dehydrator, use that. Otherwise, you could try placing grated ginger on a sheet and placing it in a convection oven set at the lowest temperature for a few hours. For a more traditional method, place the ginger somewhere dry for a few days. You could also try looking for already dried ginger pieces at your spice merchant (just be sure that no sugar or preservatives have been added). Once it has dried, you can try grinding if the pieces are fine and dehydrated, or you could grate larger pieces after drying.
  • Preparing the cloves. This spice is versatile and full of delicious flavour, making it suitable for a wide variety of sweet and savoury dishes. In chai, cloves add a touch of sweetness, balancing the strong ginger, sharp peppercorns, warm cinnamon and full-bodied cardamom. You can grind cloves in your spice grinder fairly easily to release even more flavour. In addition to using this spice in chai, you can grind fresh cloves over your morning oats or add to curries, stews and soups.
  • Whole cinnamon vs ground. You could break up pieces of cinnamon and grind them, or place whole sticks into the chai to release the flavour more gradually. Always remember to ensure that you use pure cinnamon (preferably Ceylon, which is the best quality) rather than cassia (which is often sold as a poor quality substitute in supermarkets). Buying your spices from a dedicated spice merchant is the best way to ensure that you get the best quality spice to begin with – if buying from a supermarket, be sure to read labels carefully so that you know exactly what you are getting.
  • Other spices to add. Along with these spices, black pepper and green cardamom pods, you could also add some additional spices to enhance the flavour of your chai blend. Nutmeg (grated fresh for best results), fennel seeds, star anise (add these whole for a subtle, liquorice like taste), and even more exotic options such as dried chilli flakes (use these in moderation), mace, cumin seeds and coriander seeds. Once you have the perfect base, experiment to create your own custom blend.

To put it all together, blend your spices with a scoop or two (depending on how many cups you are preparing) of tea, add a small amount of water and plenty of milk (you can also use non-dairy milk), then gently bring to the boil on the stove. Keep tasting to check whether you need to add any extra spices, tea or milk. To serve, strain over a sieve or tea strainer and enjoy!

With the help of a few good quality spice grinders, some delicious fresh spices, your favourite loose leaf tea, and plenty of milk to bring it all together, you will soon have a delicious winter-ready chai recipe that warms, soothes and entices the taste-buds.

11 Fascinating Facts About Whole Spices

You use whole spices every day in the kitchen (hopefully freshly ground with the help of a good quality spice grinder!) but you may not have known the interesting history and background behind everyday herbs and spices.

Spices have been used for thousands of years, by many cultures all over the world. From the traditional spices of India to the hot seasonings of Mexico, the complex blends used in Chinese cooking, the simple combinations favoured in French and Italian dishes and the tried-and-trusted favourites used in South Africa, a meal without spice will literally not taste the same.

Facts About Whole Spices

The diverse origin of spices shows just how much of a history seasonings have had over time, while also showing a number of surprising benefits and unique features!

Things You Never Knew About Whole Spices & Herbs

Some things about whole spices that you may or may not have known include the following:

  1. Red peppers are one of the highest sources of vitamin C. Paprika, which is a tasty spice made from red pepper has more vitamin C than lemon juice when compared by weight. This spice is also rich in other antioxidants, making it an excellent one for daily health.
  2. The hottest chilli in the world award goes to the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion chilli. This chilli pepper puts new meaning to the term ‘red hot’, and is apparently able to burn its way through latex gloves!
  3. Nutmeg is known for its deliciously sweet taste that is ideal for baking and desserts and curries. This spice is also a psychotropic – in high enough doses, it causes hallucinations, delusions and an impending feeling of doom.
  4. The powerful, pungent spices of mustard and wasabi are only spicy once when are crushed. In whole seed form, they have a much milder flavour. Once their cells are damaged, components within the plant combine to create allyl isothiocyanate, which is a compound that gives these spices a pungent taste.
  5. The spice known as allspice is often assumed to be a blend of spices. In reality, this spice comes from a berry of a Jamaican plant known as pimento. The nickname is likely to have come from the spice’s well-rounded flavour, which tastes a little like cinnamon, nutmeg and gloves combined. This spice is commonly used in sweet and savoury dishes.
  6. Pepper is one of the oldest spices in the world. Peppercorns are believed to have been used in food for the last 4,000 years. From as far back as the 4th Century BC, texts mention this spice being used to prepare feasts in India.
  7. Another nutmeg fact – this plant actually produces two spices, which are nutmeg as we know it and another spice known as mace. Nutmeg is the seed, while mace is the covering on the seed. They have similar flavours, with mace being a bit stronger. Nutmeg was at one point considered so exotic that the Dutch allegedly traded the island of Manhattan to the British in return for nutmeg growing islands owned by the British Empire.
  8. There is a big misconception that spicy foods such as chilli can cause stomach ulcers. In reality, spicy foods actually have the opposite effect. They stimulate the protective lining of the stomach, helping to kill bacteria that cause ulcers. Other foods that have similar properties include garlic, onion and oregano.
  9. The most expensive spice in the world is saffron, which is grown in Iran, India and Mexico. The spice is commonly used for its rich, complex flavour but is also popular for the bright yellow colour it infuses into dishes.
  10. Cumin is a popular spice for curries and savoury food, with a history that dates back to Biblical times. The Romans and Greeks often used this spice for seasoning. In the Middle Ages, it was believed that cumin promoted fidelity, and the pretty pink and white flowers were often used in wedding ceremonies.
  11. The deliciously sweet cinnamon is one of the few spices taken from the bark of a tree rather than its leaves, berries or seeds. It is very similar to cassia but the latter is not as pure. Bark is carefully taken from the tree and then put out to dry. In warm, dry environments, the bark forms perfectly dried quills in up to six hours. These quills are them cut and packaged for sale.

The next time you are cooking up a storm, stop for a moment and consider the amazing journey that your favourite whole spices have come to get from their origin to your pepper grinder.