The purpose of food is not only to fill our stomachs. It also has to fill our hearts. Our taste buds need the proper pampering they deserve. And spices are what make our food edible. The primary concern of spices is to add to the food’s taste. But different spices hold nutritious values that are essential for our health.
Different food requires different sorts of spices. There are some of the dishes that need spices as pieces. And other dishes need ground spices. However, ground spices are more efficient in evenly distributed to the whole dish.
The actual art in using ground spices relies on the method that is used to ground the spices. There was a time when people used to depend on mortar and pestle to grind spices. But that was a huge hassle for larger amounts. Then technology advanced, and today we have so many manual and electrical options to grind those spices.
Types of Grinders
Typically, a spice grinder is a tool to grind up hard dried whole spices. You can choose your grinder according to your needs if you want coarse grind or fine powder grind spices. There are numerous options of spice grinders available.
Spice grinder bottles
There are spice vendors who sell spices in a bottle that comes with built-in grinders. You need to remove the lid and take the whole spice out if you'd like to use a whole one. Otherwise, when you need to use the spiced ground, you turn the jar upside down and turn the lid, which grinds the spice out.
You can get a mini grinder dedicated to each spice. It does not take much space than regular spice bottles.
And they are exposable so that it will be a waste-free experience.
Mortar and pestle
Mortar and pestle are the two most common grinders, and people have used them for a long time; the combination is even considered traditional. But round spices like pepper or cumin seeds are easier to grind in these. Meanwhile, it becomes troublesome to grind spices like cinnamon sticks.
If you are planning for a single meal, then mortar and pestle would be the right choice. But for huge meals or many people, this might not be the thing you need. Even if you spend 5 minutes fiddling with spices in a mortar and pestle, and still won't have as good results as they get in 2 seconds with an actual spice grinder.
Manual vs. electric
In a manual spice grinder, you put the spices on the top of the mechanism. Then you turn the wheels, and nice ground spices fall off the bottom of the machine. Some of them also let you decide the fineness of the spices you want. To clean, you can just put a few pinches of rice through.
Electric grinders are best for a huge amount of spices to grind. You can also determine the fineness of the spices. Moreover, physical functioning is much less in electric grinders. So, this can be your hassle-free, easy grinding option.
Coffee bean grinder
This may sound a little bit bizarre, but you can also use a coffee bean grinder to grind your spices. But for that, you need to find the coffee grinder dedicated to that purpose. If the lid or the grinder's body is made of see-through plastic, then hard spices like cinnamon or cloves can make it scratchy.
For using a coffee grinder to grind all spices, you have to find the perfect blade. It would help if you had a grinder with actual blades for this purpose. Burr grinders don't make fine powders so that you can use the coffee bean grinder
Video Tips: How to use a spice grinder
Whole spices can be used in a dish. But if ground spices are used in any dish, it brings out the essential oil and deeper flavors in a dish. Grinding herbs is considered the most common way to use them in any recipe.
Grinding spices may seem troublesome for all the hassle of different types of machinery. But giving a little effort to the way of cooking can go a long way to bring out the healthy taste in any dish. Following some simple steps, you can easily grind spices.
Step 1: place spices on the skillet
The best way to use any spice is by tasting them a bit. By this, the actual flavor of the spices comes out, giving the dish an extraordinary aura. So first, put the spices on the skillet. You can also use cast iron for equal heat distribution.
Step 2: shake the spices
Do not just put the spices on the skillet; you need to shake them every now and then. Spices come in very small sizes. If not tossed well on the heat, they can burn easily. Smoked spices are good, but no one wants burnt spices in their food.
Step 3: let them cool
The most important step of toasting spices is to let them cool before grinding. When the spices are on the heat, they start spreading aroma. When you can smell the spices, you would know that it is done. If not cool, they will be hard to grind properly.
Step 4: toast separately
To get the best result, toast each spice separately. Each spice is different in size and textures. So, they take different times to heat up. If toasted together, there may be chances for some to burn while others are uncooked.
Step 5: mortar and pestle
You can grind any spice in two simple ways. The most common method is using mortar and pestle. If the spices' quantity is low and you want chunky grind spices, this will be the best option.
Step 6: spice grinder
This one is a more hassle-free option. You can use it for a larger quantity of spices. Check the blades before using a spice grinder. The fineness of your ground spices depends on it.
Step 7: preserve
Your spice is now ready to use. You can directly use them in the dishes you plan to prepare. If you grind more spices than you need, you have to preserve them properly. Make sure to always store spice in air-tight containers and keep them in a dry plus cool space.
Using spices in dishes
In contrast, herbs, spices are almost always used as dry ingredients. It is best to use ground spices. The best results from the spices can get if they are toasted before using. Whole spices retain their flavor longer. So, it is best to store them whole and grind only when needed.
Pre-ground spices lose their potency quickly. It is best to store the pre-ground spices in an air-tight container. The containers should be kept in a cold and dark place and changed after every six months.
There is a superstition dwelling among common people to make food tasty; it has to be unhealthy. This idea is wrong. The proper balance of health with taste in food is a must. Adding spices might be the best way to do that.
Spices are the best ways to add new flavors and aromas to your food. It is also healthy because spices do not add fat, sodium, or calories. To get the best out of your spices is to use ground spices. It is effortless to grind spices with today's technology. Thus, make sure you eat the best, in the best possible manner.