What else can I grind in a pepper mill?
August 20, 2008 12:21 PM   Subscribe

What else can I grind in a pepper mill?

I have an extra Olde Thompson Pepper mill with nothing to grind in it. The product description says "Carbon Steel grinding mechanism is fully adjustable from a coarse to a fine grind." - so I'm wondering what else I can use in this mill. I'm guessing seeds of some kind - what would YOU use this for?
posted by Lizc to Food & Drink (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Chunky Sea Salt (adjusting the granularity of salt is nice)
Peppercorn blends of your own devising
Any spice blend of your own devising

Pretty much anything with the approximate physical properties of peppercorns!
posted by milqman at 12:28 PM on August 20, 2008


Although you see it more often sold already ground white pepper benefits just as much as black pepper from being freshly ground.
posted by TedW at 12:32 PM on August 20, 2008


Coffee perhaps? I think combination pepper/coffee grinders are pretty common in Turkey, so it might be worth a try if yours is adjustable.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 12:38 PM on August 20, 2008


I should have mentioned, I already have the matching salt mill with the ceramic disks. Sorry!
posted by Lizc at 12:41 PM on August 20, 2008


I tend to use a lot of cumin in various recipes as a part of spice rubs and curries, so I buy the seeds whole and grind them through a pepper mill. Whole spices stay potent for a longer window and grinding in a mill is more convenient than using a conventional mortar and pestle (though for larger amounts, I tend to go back to the mortar)
posted by bl1nk at 12:44 PM on August 20, 2008


Seconding grinding cumin in the mill, though if you do go this route add the cumin to your dish at the initial stages of the cooking process, while frying onions or something similar. Cumin needs to be roasted a little to get rid of the raw taste. Alternatively you could roast the cumin before putting it in your grinder. Another spice you could use similarly would be coriander seeds. I'd venture to say that it would work quite well, since coriander seeds are a similar size and shape to peppercorns.
posted by peacheater at 12:52 PM on August 20, 2008


I use red pepper flakes all the time and find that it's extra spicy when you grind the flakes through a mill.
posted by Faithos at 1:14 PM on August 20, 2008


Flaxseeds.
posted by sixcolors at 1:15 PM on August 20, 2008


Definitely coffee, to make Turkish-style coffee.
posted by spinifex23 at 1:16 PM on August 20, 2008


If you use anything other than pepper, you should get a separate mill, unless you want coffee/coriander seed/cumin/star anise-flavoured black pepper later.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 1:29 PM on August 20, 2008


Grains of Paradise.
posted by WidgetAlley at 2:38 PM on August 20, 2008


Dried garlic and chilli flakes nom nom nom nom nom.
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:49 PM on August 20, 2008


In the novel Dragonwyck, the bad guy uses a pepper mill to trick his wife into grinding oleander (a deadly poison) onto her food. Just sayin'.
posted by nax at 2:54 PM on August 20, 2008


weed
posted by Charlie Lesoine at 3:10 PM on August 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


I've got a few grinders mostly left over from other prepackaged salts & spices. I've got two devoted to a basic mix of degydrated minced garlic, dehydrated onion flakes, red pepper, black peppercorn -- one mixes in kosher salt and they go over pretty well anything. The third grinder is currently dedicated to masticating alaea salt.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 3:11 PM on August 20, 2008


What about mustard? I'm curious if this would work or are the seeds too mushy?

Otherwise the cumin idea sounds pretty good, I'll likely give that a whirl. Thanks!
posted by Lizc at 3:19 PM on August 20, 2008


Toasted rice to sprinkle on the top of nom tok beef salad.
posted by ersatzkat at 4:03 PM on August 20, 2008


I don't have any good suggestions beyond what people here have said (salt, herbs, spices, basically), but grinding dry rice is a decent way to clean the mill. You probably don't want your freshly-ground black pepper to have strong hints of coffee, cumin, and cloves, and many grinders probably shouldn't be washed.

Brass Turkish coffee grinders
make great pepper mills, incidentally.
posted by trouserbat at 5:01 PM on August 20, 2008


Charlie Lesoine beat me to it.
posted by Netzapper at 5:41 PM on August 20, 2008


I had a friend that used a small turkish-style coffee grinder for Parmesean. Buy a whole block, pop in a couple chunks, and get it fresh grated/ground at the table easily.
posted by pupdog at 4:38 AM on August 21, 2008


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