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The Daily Grind

Grinding fresh spices to order is the cornerstone of quality at World Spice. If a spice or blend can be ground to order, we do it. The only way to get even more fresh flavor is to grind them yourself at home and that’s what this article is about.

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If you want to grind spices at home, the most versatile tool is a blade coffee grinder like this KitchenAid. Any blade grinder with a strong motor and sharp blades will work, but we like this one because it has removable cups that are easy to clean. The smaller cups are designed specifically for spices and have blades closer to the bottom of the bowl.

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Grinding spices is just like grinding coffee beans, simply put them in the bowl of the grinder and press down the lid to give them a whirl. Most spices are tougher, though, and may require more time and a good shake. Spices are also quite small and it is hard to grind every last bit so we recommend starting with a little more spice than you are going to need.

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Use a small hand strainer to sift out the chunkier bits and simply return them to your spice jar for further grinding on the next round.

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It’s as easy as that! Is it messy? Yes. Does it take time? Yes again. But it also adds wonderful new dimensions in texture and flavor to your food. The blade grinder works beautifully on whole spice blends and whole seeds and berries like allspice, cloves, cumin, cardamom and coriander.

star anise

Another valuable grinding tool is a good mortar & pestle. They work well for coarse cracking spices and to break down large and tough spices like star anise before putting them in a blade grinder.

nutmeg

If there was one spice that is definitely worth the effort to grind at home, it’s nutmeg. The fresh flavors are so wonderful and so fleeting that there is no comparison. Nutmeg is also a special case because it is a tough nut to crack! It requires a grater or shaver like this Microplane to get the job done. Fortunately the tool can do double duty as a zester and even finely grating cheeses to earn a coveted spice in the gadget drawer.

Some spices are not well suited to grinding at home and these are easily found in their ground form. Resinous spices like turmeric will gum up the works, ginger has so many fibers you’d need a machete and cinnamon bark is so hard it is virtually impossible to get a fine grind on anything other than an industrial grinder. But there is a treasure trove of spices out there that are available whole and worth the effort to grind at home. So enjoy the opportunity to create fresh flavors and new textures to use in your cooking. Bon appétit!


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