While they might be a common addition to your kitchen table, salt and pepper grinders aren’t something everyone could easily explain. You know you twist a certain part of the grinder, and you end up with fresh, crushed pepper or salt – but what happens inside your grinding device?
If you’re curious about how your salt and pepper grinder helps to add that extra splash of something special to your meals, you’re in the right place.
Today, we will look at how salt and pepper mills work. And why it’s so much better to have a salt and pepper grinder in your home than to use pre-ground spices.
How Does a Pepper Grinder Work?
The average pepper grinder comes filled with peppercorns. Pepper doesn’t come in the finely-ground state we’d normally see in pre-filled pepper pots. Rather, the corns need to be crushed down to the consistency appropriate for your meals and seasoning.
The great thing about using a pepper grinder is it allows you to unleash the full flavour of the spice, which allows for much better meals than you would get from pre-ground paper. Most people far prefer the freshly ground pepper from their pepper mills to the spice they get from ground pepper.
A pepper grinder includes a couple of wheels at the bottom of the tube. When you twist your pepper mills, the peppercorns at the bottom of the device are caught by the metal wheel and crushed. Some pepper mills allow you to adjust the coarseness of your freshly ground spice, so you can either have fine pepper or something a little chunkier.
How Does a Salt Grinder Work?
Salt mills work much in the same way as pepper mills. Like pepper, salt isn’t naturally as fine as the substance you see in table salt containers. Fresh sea salt is coarse and features large chunks that need to be broken down. With a salt grinder, you’ll use the same metal wheels with jagged edges to cut through coarse salt and crush it to the right texture for your advanced cooking recipe.
You can grind your sea salt to any texture, from thinly sliced flakes to crunched and fine salt, depending on what you need.
The exact functionality of your salt grinders or pepper grounders will often differ depending on the type of mills you buy. For instance, you might consider a ceramic grinder or wooden grinder for salt and a steel grinder for pepper. In some cases, you might decide you want to use an electronic grinder instead of a manual grinder. Electronic grinders can sometimes give you more control over the coarseness of your salt and pepper.
Is There a Difference Between a Pepper Grinder and a Salt Grinder?
While much of the functionality of salt and pepper grinders is the same, featuring jagged edges grinding the spices into the right texture, there are a few differences. The main distinction is usually in the mechanism used to grind the spices in each mill.
Ceramic and carbon steel are some of the most common grinders for salt and pepper. Usually, a steel grinder will be best for a pepper mill because it can help cut through the tough peppercorns with as little work as possible.
Alternatively, you might be better off choosing a ceramic salt mill because it will be less likely to fall victim to corrosion. You can also grind peppercorns in ceramic grinders, but salt generally isn’t a good option for steel because the metal will eventually rust. Salt can hold onto moisture for a long time, even when it seems completely dry, which can prompt rusting.
Remember, both salt and pepper grinders will work best if you make sure you keep your mills in a cool and dry place when they’re not in use. Avoid exposing your grinders to any moisture, and don’t put them in the dishwasher unless the instructions say you can.
Are Salt and Pepper Grinders Better?
So, does a salt and pepper grinder work better for your meals than simply purchasing pre-ground rock salt or pepper grounds from Chili Peppers? If you purchase the right stainless steel grinders for your pepper and a professional salt mill made with ceramic, the benefits for your salt and pepper cuisines should be significant.
Using a salt and pepper mill for your meals means you can get the perfect texture of freshly ground salt and pepper for each cuisine. Fresh herbs and spices are always more potent than pre-ground options you can access from the supermarket. Like Italian spices are best when they’re fresh, a salt and pepper mill will give you all the unique flavours and spice aroma you want from your seasonings.
For many people who love coarse salt and pepper, a pepper grinder and salt mill can be the key to creating a more delicious flour mixture for bread or a delicious salad with fresh tomatoes. You can also create amazing snacks when you spray a mixture of salt and pepper with a little olive oil on toasted bread. The more you can taste the unique flavours created with your salt and pepper mills, the harder it will be to imagine how you lived without them before.
When you use a salt or pepper mill, you’re keeping your peppercorns and coarse salt in their purest possible form until it’s time to use them. This is because any time you ground a spice – even something simple like a peppercorn – it begins to react to the oxygen around it, compromising the flavour. This is why salt and pepper from a mill always tastes different to that pre-ground in the supermarket.
How Should You Use Salt and Pepper Grinders?
Remember, a pepper or salt mill won’t keep your seasonings fresh forever. You’ll still need to regularly refill the containers to ensure you’re getting the freshest and purest flavours. It’s important to keep your grinders clean and away from any moisture which would otherwise damage the integrity of the spice.
Keep salt and pepper mills in a cool, dry place when they’re not in use, and store fresh peppercorns or salt in an air-tight container until you’re ready to use them.
When the time comes to use your salt or pepper mills, fill the grinder to the point you need, and follow the instructions. Some grinders are now electronic, which means all you need to do is press a button, and the system will grind for you. You should find some basic instructions on setting the “coarseness” level of your salt and pepper.
When enjoying your mills, don’t be afraid to experiment with different coarseness levels. If you’re using a manual salt and pepper grinder, avoid overtightening the setting knob. This can cause the system to become stuck, making it harder to get the results you like in the long term. Make sure you don’t turn your salt and pepper grinder the wrong way either, as this can lead to problems with functionality later on.
Owning Salt and Pepper Mills
The question “how do salt and pepper grinders work?” might seem odd until you start using your salt and pepper mill. The reality is a pepper or salt mill is a reasonably easy-to-use device with simple functionality. Hopefully, this guide has helped you understand these devices’ capabilities.