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.

What to Look for When Buying Spice Grinders in Bulk

If you have a business that sells freshly ground spices, purchasing high quality spice grinders is essential. There is a lot more to ensuring that your spices remain fresh than you may have thought however.

Spices have long been popular in the kitchen. Used all over the world in many different cuisines, whole spices as well as ground spices come in a bigger variety than ever before. To provide your customers with the best quality of spices however, you first need to ensure that you take precautions when buying spices as well as grinders. Spices should be carefully selected and ground in volumes that minimise the risk of waste or spoilage. As ground spice has a shelf life that ranges up to a year, it is not ideal to have too many bottles left on the shelf. Preservatives are useful to some extent, but for those wanting a natural, chemical-free solution, this is not always a viable option.

What can you do to keep spices fresh and tasty, and what else should you consider when sourcing bottles and grinders?

Top Tips for Buying Spice Grinders for Your Business

We have put together some useful tips to keep in mind when sourcing spice grinders in bulk volume. Some things to consider include the following:

  • Plastic or glass? Both plastic and glass bottles have pros and cons. In the retail sector, glass bottles have a higher value, which means that they could be worth the added investment when purchasing bottles. Depending on your business, your budget and your overall requirements, you may choose glass, plastic or a combination of both. Read our comparison of glass vs plastic bottles to see how they compare.
  • Bottle sizes. Smaller businesses such as delis, health shops and local cafes may find that a smaller range consisting of a standard bottle size may be best, while larger businesses may find that larger, smaller and standard bottles add variety to spice selections. Bottles are available in a range of sizes and styles – 50ml, 80ml, 100ml, 325ml and 375ml.
  • Bottle shape. You can also choose from a range of shapes. Classic cylindrical bottles are a popular choice, but you could also consider tapered bottles in plastic, or elegantly shaped bottles in glass. The shape often comes down to your overall business and your preferences. If you have a luxury farmer’s market store that sells organic spice blends, you may choose something smarter, but if you have a corner store that sells basic condiments and supplies, shape may not be an important factor at all.
  • Grinder lid closures. There are also a range of different closures available. In the Global Grinders grinder range, Gourmet and Elegant tops have a higher-end look, while the Inline Adjustable and Ecoline tops are more streamlined. There are also additional options such as the Catering top and Snap-On top.
  • Seals and liners. These are essential for a few reasons. Firstly, the seal keeps the spices fresh, allowing for a longer shelf life. Secondly, non-tamper seals give your customers better peace of mind in knowing that the goods have not been opened. Options for these include pressure sensitive foam liners as well as induction liners.

Once you have determined which types of grinders you will use, you will also need to determine labelling needs and packaging. But the perfect spice grinder is by far one of the most important things when it comes to spices, so it is well worth putting in some time and effort to ensure that you choose the best quality bottles and grinders that you can afford.

Whole Spices for Every Cuisine

Whatever your taste buds prefer, having a few spice grinders is the best way to integrate a variety of whole spices into a world of flavoursome cuisine styles. From Asian to Indian; Mexican to Italian and even Middle Eastern, spice plays a vital role in many of the dishes enjoyed around the world. While it is possible to buy pre-ground spices when cooking exotic dishes, buying whole preserves the full aroma and taste, while also giving you the best health benefits.

Whole Spices for Every Cuisine

Today, we take a look at some of the best whole spices to use when cooking various cuisine styles.

Explore a World of Flavours With Whole Spices

Some spices and herbs may overlap. After all, as diverse as our planet may be, certain staples are enjoyed everywhere. While the same spices may be used in Chinese, Thai, Indian and Italian cuisine, they are used completely differently in each part of the world. So, you might have a spice such as cumin, cardamom or chilli appear internationally, but how that spice is introduced into food will be totally unique to each region. This is what makes spice such an amazing addition to dishes – it allows you to add a huge depth of flavour and experiment with combinations, ingredients and varietals.

  • Asian Cuisine

Chinese and Thai spices include dried pomegranate seeds, whole green aniseed, black onion seeds, black peppercorns, caraway seeds, cardamom seeds (black and green), cinnamon, cloves, black cumin, fennel seeds, fenugreek leaves, green peppercorns, mustard seeds, stone flower, punch puran, dried chilli, kokum seeds, sesame seeds (white and black), dried hibiscus flower, dried plums, white pepper, Sichuan peppercorn, star anise, dried citrus peel, allspice berries, bay leaves, and dried sand ginger.

  • Indian Cuisine

Spices used in Indian meals include coriander seeds, curry leaves, garam masala, nutmeg, dried chilli, saffron, linseed, aniseed, caraway seeds, black and green cardamom, cinnamon bark, dried melon seeds, Charoli seeds, cloves, cumin, dagarful, fenugreek (leaves and seeds), dried garlic flakes, halon seeds, black kokum, liquorice root, long pepper, lovage seeds, mace, mustard seeds (black, yellow and brown), crispy fried onion, onion seeds, popped lotus seeds, blue and white poppy seeds, and tamarind seeds.

  • Mexican Cuisine

Spices used in Mexican meals include a wide variety of fresh and dried chilli (Chipotle, Ancho, Pasilla, Habanero, Guajillo, Serrano and De Arbol), as well as dried garlic, cumin, coriander, Canela (also known as Ceylon or ‘true’ cinnamon), dried avocado leaves, anise, cloves, mint, basil, dried onion, nutmeg, annatto seed and Mexican oregano. It is important to learn about each type of chilli before using – some can be extremely hot, while others are on the milder side.

  • Italian Cuisine

Spices and herbs used in Italian cooking include anise, star anise, basil, bay leaves, crushed red pepper flakes, juniper berries, parsley, oregano, dried and fresh rosemary, sun dried tomatoes, sage, hot pepper, black peppercorns, thyme, fennel seeds, dried garlic and dried tomato powder. Often, the focus is on fresh herbs, but some can be dried and crushed in a spice grinder. Ideally, it is best to stick to one or two seasonings rather than mixing too many.

  • Middle Eastern Cuisine

Spices and herbs used in Middle Eastern cuisine includes cumin, coriander, turmeric, dried mint, Aleppo chilli, green and black cardamom, cinnamon, Moroccan coriander seeds, cumin, fenugreek, paprika, saffron, sumac, Turkish urfa biber pepper, sesame and caraway. Many blends are also used, including Baharat (allspice, black peppercorn, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, nutmeg and dried chilli peppers or paprika).

Stocking up on a good range of glass or plastic bottled spice grinders is a great way to build a spice collection that will allow you to experiment with many different types of spice. By choosing quality whole spices, you will get the best results from your delicious meals.

5 More Weird and Wonderful Novelty Spice Grinders

Not too long ago, we brought you some weird and wacky spice grinders that included everything from a camera lens to a Rubik’s cube. Today, we have a few more fascinating grinders that add a bit of humour and fun to almost any kitchen.

From nose shaped grinders all the way to a mobile watch grinder, a rocket ship grinder, a Russian doll grinder and a beer bottle grinder, we love how these kitchen tools make cooking fun. Of course, besides good looks, the most important element of any grinder is that it does the job it is designed to do. While novelty grinders are always fun, it is important to be sure that your grinders are of the best quality, to ensure that spices can be ground to perfection every time. If you’re looking for something simpler, be sure to check out our range of high quality grinders and bottles that will suit every kitchen… no matter how smart or relaxed!

Fun, Frivolous but Functional Novelty Spice Grinders

Without further ado, here are some of the best novelty spice grinders that we have seen around the web recently…

A Nose Shaped Grinder

Ideal for pepper or any other aromatic spice, this grinder reminds us how much of an important role the nose plays when using deliciously fragrant spices from around the world. Just be sure that you don’t inhale your freshly ground pepper too closely, or you may end up with a nose full of pepper!

Novelty Spice Grinders Nose

[via Amazon.com]

A Mobile Watch Grinder

Ideal for campers and office foodies who want to take their favourite spices with them on the go, this grinder allows you to grind small amounts of spice. As it can easily be carted around on your wrist, there is far less danger of losing your grinder, either.

Novelty Spice Grinders Watch

[via DHGate.com]

A Rocket Grinder

With a hint of retro cool, this rocket grinder is sure to take your cooking to infinity and beyond. We love the sleek wooden look, which brings to mind mid-century design with a bit of Scandinavian flare. Definitely a gadget for trend setting foodies.

Novelty Spice Grinders Rocket

[via GenieGadgets.com]

A Russian Doll Grinder

Boasting a bright, colourful design, this Russian Matryoshka grinder may not be a traditional nesting doll, but it is certainly a lively touch to your kitchen or dining room. While the design is fairly classic, taking the shape of a simple pepper mill, the style is modern and quirky without being over the top.

Novelty Spice Grinders Russian Doll

[via flosdiner.dk]

A Beer Bottle Grinder

This would be a great gift for the beer loving foodie in your life. With the shape of a bottle (but at the fraction of the size of an actual bottle), it combines the best things in life: good food and cold beer. We especially love the label and level of detail on this grinder.

Novelty Spice Grinders Beer Bottle

[via PeepCulture.com]

Would you use any of these novelty pepper mills and grinders, or do you prefer your grinders on the classic side? 

5 Edible Gift Ideas from Global Grinders

With the festive season just about here, Global Grinders brings you some easy to prepare edible gift ideas that can be made with a few good spice grinders, plus a selection of seasoning ingredients. From sweet baking spice mixes to salad sprinkles, savoury spice blends and other ideas, these gifts are sure to be just the thing for the foodie in your life.

Looking for good quality grinders and pepper mills? We offer a range of glass and PET plastic bottles, along with high grade flip top closures and grinder sets. Browse our range of grinder products to see what we have in stock!

How to Use Spice Grinders for Festive Gifts

With a few new spice grinders, you can make a number of unique, edible gifts. Here are just some ways that you can use your grinders for festive gifts…

  1. Sugar and Spice. Mix brown sugar with sweet spices such as cloves, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger (pre-ground will work fine for this purpose). Pour the spiced sugar into grinder bottles and label with a custom-made label that you have made yourself. This blend is great to use over cereals and baked goods, as well as fruit and yogurt. Make one bottle of mixed spice sugar, or prepare a few different blends to make a gift set of spiced sugar.
  2. Savoury Salt. Using the same method, you can make salt seasoned with assorted spices and herbs. Try dried rosemary, dried chilli flakes, mustard seeds, coriander seeds or any other type of spice. For best results, choose spices that the gift recipient uses often. You can use already ground spices, or fresh, dried herbs and spices that can be ground with the salt when it is used. Look for good quality coarse sea salt or pink salt to ensure a good base.
  3. Custom Spice Blends. Find out which spices your friends and family love, and then make custom blends that allow them to enjoy these spices whenever they want a dose of spicy goodness. This works especially well for busy home chefs who love cooking, but don’t always have time to shop around for their favourite spices. Add a custom label designed with the person’s name, and voila – you have a lovely personalised gift!
  4. Salad Sprinkles. Make a set of fun, edible salad sprinkles from various spices and non-spice foods that can be ground. Doritos and other crisps work well, but you can also try roasted seeds or dried ginger, chilli or even dried garlic flakes. Try black pepper with dried lemon flakes or dried rosemary. Looking for some inspiration? Have a look at our blog post on non-spice things to grind in a spice grinder.
  5. Mini Spice Set. Look for a set of smaller, mini sized bottles, which can be used to create a starter kit of spice and seasoning blends. Small sizes such as 80ml or even 50ml can also be used to create a ‘spices on the go’ set that can be used for those who travel a lot, those who love to camp and those who are often on the road. This makes a good housewarming gift as well – especially when packaged in a nice box, with personalised labels.

Offering a wide range of health benefits, not to mention the ability to transform an ordinary meal into something extraordinary, whole spices are certainly a gift that keeps on giving. Give the food lover in your life a special gift with the help of custom blended herbs and spices and quality spice grinders from Global Grinders!

More Things to Grind in a Spice Grinder (Besides Spice)

Not too long ago, we shared some ideas on alternative uses for spice grinders.  The list included everything from Doritos chip seasoning to instant icing sugar and a few other things as well. Today, we have some more ideas on how to use your grinder… some ways weirder than others.

Before we get going, remember that however you use your grinder, it is best to invest in a few sets of bottles and flip top or screw on lid attachments so that you can clean out and reuse them safely without any non-spice ingredients ruining your favourite whole spices. To find a full range of grinders and other related products, head on over to our Ready to Grind section or shop for bottles and lids separately.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s take a look at some other interesting things you can grind in a pepper mill or grinder…

More Uses for Your Spice Grinder

With an abundance of weird and wonderful spice grinders to be found out there, along with good old fashioned grinders that get the job done without the bells and whistles, it is safe to say that these tools are commonplace in most kitchens and dining rooms. While spices, salt and pepper are the things most frequently ground in grinder bottles, the convenient grinding function and simple shape of these tools make them useful for grinding a surprising number of edible and not-so-edible materials. Here are some of the more unusual of those materials…

  1. Dried insects. Considered a major source of protein, insects are still a somewhat unusual food item consumed in many parts of the world. Some supporters believe that dried insects offer a sustainable alternative or addition to other animal protein sources. And, more interestingly, these experts suggest grinding dried insects into a protein powder to add to smoothies, oats, salads and other meals!
  2. Rice. Rice can be ground and used as porridge, or it can be used as a natural face and body scrub when mixed with rice water, milk or skin enriching oil. According to beauty experts, rice scrubs have been used by Japanese women for centuries, giving a healthy glow and helping to fight the signs of aging.
  3. Poppy seeds. Another item that doubles as a food and skin care ingredient, poppy seeds have plenty of healthy benefits, however you use them. Ground poppy seeds can be used to make a pudding or porridge – soak with milk and leave in the fridge overnight to enjoy for breakfast the next morning. Ground poppy seeds can be mixed with your favourite skin enriching oil for a complexion-boosting scrub as well.
  4. Flaxseed. These healthy, tiny seeds are packed full of goodness. Consumed ground, they have far more benefits – fibre, healthy fats and other nutrients. They are surprisingly versatile when ground as well. Use with yogurt and fruit, add to smoothies, sprinkle over salads and grind over soup and any other food (sweet or savoury). They do not have much of a taste and do not affect the flavour and texture of food, but will give you a healthy dose of nutrients with just a flick of the grinder.
  5. Flavoured salt. Ok, this is not really weird or even unusual, but it’s worth adding anyway. Buying coarse pink or sea salt in bulk and then adding to your grinder along with your favourite dried herbs is a simple way to make your own flavoured salts. It’s also a great gift idea – buy a set of glass grinders and mix coarse salt with dried rosemary, dried chilli, dried basil and other herbs, and voila… you will have a lovely gift for the foodie in your life.

Now it’s over to you… what do you grind in your spice grinders? We’d love to hear your comments, so share your ideas below and let us know!

How Long Can You Store Spices in Your Spice Grinder?

There is no doubt that freshly ground spices have a lot more flavour and benefits than old spices – this is, after all, why you have invested in a decent spice grinder and why you grind your own spices. But how long can you keep your favourite spices without the risk of spoilage or lost health benefit, aroma and flavour?

Before we give you some guidelines on typical shelf life of these aromatic condiments, it is first worth noting that how you look after your spices will play a big role in how long they last. Some people believe that storing spices in the fridge will retain their power for longer. Some may even keep spices such as ginger or chilli in the freezer. There are many viewpoints on this, but for the most part, subjecting your spices and herbs to harsh temperatures (cold or otherwise) may end up causing more harm than good. Ideally, spices and herbs should be kept in a cool, dark place such as a cupboard or shelf that is out of the way of direct sunlight.

Using smaller amounts instead of grinding the entire leaf, root or spice will also help to keep them fresher for longer. Keeping your grinders clean and avoiding contamination from other sources is also advised, so instead of using the same grinder to prepare pepper, salt, coriander and cloves, rather invest in a few grinders to use for different types of spice.

Preserving Whole Spices without Spoilage

With that said, a good guideline of how long various types of whole spices will keep in your grinders or in sealed containers or bottles will give you an idea of typical shelf life. Guidelines include the following:

  • Whole, unground spices, herbs, leaves and edible flowers: 1 – 2 years
  • Spice seeds: 2 – 3 years
  • Whole roots: 2 – 3 years
  •  Ground spices and herbs (prepared from whole): 1 year
  • Ground roots (prepared from whole): 2 years

 

These guidelines refer to the amount of time before a spice or herb will spoil. Some spices however are best fresh, and while they may still be technically unspoilt, they may start to lose their flavour and potency after a while. The best way to determine whether or not a spice is still fresh, or whether it is close to its spoiling date is to consider the colour and the smell. Old spices that are no long as potent will have a dull, muted colour compared to their original shade. Likewise, they may not smell as flavoursome as they did when you first purchased them.

By looking after your spices, buying smaller amounts to use in a shorter space of time rather than stocking up in bulk, and regularly checking your spices appearance and aroma, you should be able to prevent spoilage.

Investing in a good set of spice grinders will also help to keep your favourite spices fresh when they are in the grinders, so be sure to stock up on some decent quality grinders so that you get the most from your favourite spices.

5 Healthy Reasons to Use Your Pepper Grinder Daily

A good pepper grinder is a must-have for any kitchen. While most people use freshly ground pepper to add taste to their food, you might be surprised that pepper has a number of health benefits that make it an essential addition to your meals.

Freshly ground whole spices are a simple way to flavour food without the need for artificial flavourings, sugar and high levels of sodium. They can also add a great deal of complexity to a variety of dishes – both sweet and savoury. Pepper is one such spice that is used all over the world in many different dishes. Pre-ground pepper comes in black and white varieties, and whole peppercorns come in black, white and green (or pink, which is similar to green in its lighter strength). While ground pepper tastes good, it is the whole peppercorns that offer the most benefits from a health perspective.

Why Should You Use Your Pepper Mill Grinder Every Day?

If you are not already grinding your own fresh pepper in a pepper mill grinder, now is a great time to invest in a good grinder. There are many health benefits offered by this aromatic spice, including the following:

  1. Potential cancer prevention properties. Studies done at the University of Michagan Cancer Center in the United States showed that a chemical compound found in peppercorns known as piperine may be able to prevent the formation of breast cancer tumours. These studies are on-going, but research to date indicates that this spice’s ability to fight cancer are increased when paired with turmeric – another powerful spice.
  2.  Cold-fighting properties. A natural decongestant, pepper contains chemicals that cause runny noses, which happens when its chemical compounds irritate the mucus membranes. This means that it is effective in clearing blocked noses and stuffy nasal passages. Dr Neil Schachter from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, and the author of The Good Doctor’s Guide to Colds and Flu advises using a dash of freshly ground pepper in comforting chicken soup when trying to clear a cold.
  3.  Digestion aid properties. Pepper boosts the hydrochloric acid secretion within the stomach, which helps to aid digestion. This in turn prevents tummy bugs, constipation and colic. This spice is also able to prevent intestinal gas, and promote sweating and urination, which helps clear toxins. As it is carminative, forcing gas out from the body downwards instead of upwards where it strains organs and the chest cavity, it also helps gas to be expels more easily and naturally.
  4.  Antibacterial properties. Pepper helps the body to ward off infections and even insect bites. It also helps to clean arteries by scraping excess cholesterol from the arterial walls; thereby aiding heart health. It can even be applied topically to the skin to help remove impurities. Just be sure to use with caution however – some people may have a skin reaction to pepper.
  5.  Antioxidant properties. Pepper is considered a powerful antioxidant, and is able to fight free radical damage that has links to cancer, heart and liver problems. Antioxidants can protect the body and skin from many different health issues, as well as the effects of aging.

Add pepper to your diet, and reap the many rewards that this power spice has to offer. Remember – buying your spices whole and grinding them in good quality spice grinders or pepper mills is the best way to get the full benefit that whole spices have to offer.