Whether you are cooking American, Mexican, Italian, South American, Indian spices are the key to unlocking beautiful tastes and aromas. Any food without any spices or even some seasoning is unthinkable today. Spices are such an integral part of daily lives and the kitchen place that it’s impossible to cook anything without them.
Why Grind Your Spices?
Spices are either purchased fresh and whole or ground. The whole spices are much better as you know it’s pure and does not involve any contamination that may happen in ground spices. A lot of people prefer to ground their spices. Also, a lot of spices need to be ground in a particular fashion and also combined with a few others in the process of cooking.
Advantages of Grinding Spices
Grinding fresh spices gives a wonderful aromatic pleasure. If you haven’t yet experienced it, you must get yourself a home spice grinder. The advantage of having a spice grinder is you can use them as and when necessary to grind just the right amount of spices needed for the recipe.
We all know that spices rapidly lose flavor and taste if they are ground and stored. Therefore, packed spices will always offer only a fraction of the aroma, taste, and flavor as compared to freshly ground ones.
Keeping spices whole is the key to retaining their freshness and all their goodness. So to counter it, always grind fresh spices for the freshest taste. Spice grinders are dual-purpose, with them being able to grind spices and also grind coffee beans, seeds, nuts, and more.
To add more punch to the aroma, gently roast the spices for a few seconds on a pan before adding them to a spice grinder and check the results for yourself. And since there is more flavor to the spices, you will use lesser, thus saving money in the long run.
In the old ages, kitchens used to employ mortar and pestle to do this job, and while it is still very practical and useful, they cannot grind the spices. The latest grinders in the market are powerful enough to pulverize whole spices and break them down into fine powders.
The Factors to Consider When Choosing a Spice Grinder
Manual vs. Electric Spice Grinder
There are two types of spice grinders, manual and powered or electric ones. While it may seem weird that people use manual grinders in this age of automation, but you have to use them to believe us.
The manual grinders will crush the spices and release their aroma and flavor. They will retain their natural fibers while still squeezing out the goodness for use in cuisines. The manual grinders can be further classified into a ratchet and a mil-type grinder.
In today’s age, they are more useful if you are processing very small batches of spices like a few cloves of garlic or a small piece of ginger. Electric grinders, on the other hand, are fast, efficient, and do their job well. However, they can be noisy and can consume valuable space.
Since we are talking about spices, they are not too much in quantity to process. Spices are a fraction of the weight of the whole dish, and so the requirement of spices is just a few grams at a time. We are talking about a capacity in the range of 50-100 grams of spice processing.
For larger quantities, you can simply run multiple batches. Anything more, and you need a bigger machine and not a spice grinder. Understand your requirements carefully before you choose the capacity. Also, note how large the device is, as it will take up your counter space and storage space in the kitchen cupboards.
This one is a no-brainer, and you would have realized that all grinding machines make terrible irritating noises. So you will have to find one that makes the least of the bearable sound. Let’s agree that it is really difficult to stand that noise. You do not want to wake up the entire house and neighborhood when grinding. Check the noise level ratings of the grinders to understand how noisy they will be. Some of them also use the latest technology to dampen the sound by quite a bit.
This factor is a major plus point. The machine has to be versatile enough to be used for other grinding jobs. Grinding is not limited to spices, and you will have different uses for the machine in your kitchen. You can process coffee beans, grind nuts into a fine powder, or use them for even grinding vegetables into a paste. A versatile product will let you make more out of one machine and also cut down the number of kitchen gadgets used for various tasks.
The Spice Grinder Testing Process
There are different factors at play when testing and selecting grinders. When evaluating grinders for their
- Power and Efficiency – The device has to be equally good at different types of spices and must also deliver consistent performance every time.
- Ease of usage – It must be easy and intuitive to use. It should ideally not have a complex operating process and instructions with a lot of clunky attachments.
- Cleaning and Maintenance – For maintaining hygiene and to make the grinder last a long time, it has to be cleaned thoroughly after every use. So it has to be easy to clean and maintain.
- Build and Durability – The grinder must be built using good quality materials, must look sturdy and durable. It should not look as if it’s made of cheap materials.
- Size – The machine must not be large; after all, it’s just a spice grinder. Also, it must be easy to store after every use.
- Versatility – The machine must be able to do a variety of other kitchen tasks.
- Looks – This one is not that important, but if it looks good, it will be a definite plus point.
- Warranty – It must come with some warranty. Usually, a 1-year warranty is standard.
- Cost – Not too expensive, it must cost the value which it delivers. It’s only a grinder, and so you will not be expecting to pay a couple of hundred dollars. So the price has to match the value offered.
Now since we have understood the basics and defined the factors for selecting the right grinder, let’s have a look at some product offerings in the market.
Cuisinart SG-10 Electric Spice-and-Nut Grinder
The Cuisinart gets a lot of work done with just one cup attachment which is a bowl with a blade. It claims to get done a lot more than what the competition can with a range of accessories. At heart is a 200-watt motor that is powerful enough for the job at hand. The build studies and made of stainless steel, and no part looks or feels cheap.
The device looks premium for the price you pay. The machine has a unique construction. The grinding cup comes with a specially designed blade that is efficient at grinding. It sits on top of the powered base. The lid is another cup, which enclosed the entire cup from all sides and rested on the base. We are not sure of the reason behind such a design because we found spices can leak from the cup into the base because of this.
There are no control buttons on the grinder. You have to press and hold the top lid down on the base, which engages a hidden switch. The grinder will grind for as long as you hold the lid down in this position. The bowl can hold 90 grams which is quite sufficient when it comes to grinding spices.
The lid and bowl are dishwasher safe, and the product is built to North American Electrical Standards. It ships with another storage lid that fits on top of the bowl for easy storage. The dimensions of the machine are (LxWxH) 5 x 6 x 9 inches and weigh very light at just 1 pound.
- Small and handy.
- Not very noisy.
- Processes the spices into fine powder.
- Looks nice.
- Weak motor and can die.
- Overheats easily.
- The cup can get stuck.
- Spices and other ground matter can leak from the top as well as the bottom.
Hamilton Beach Fresh Grind Electric Grinder
This is the best one for your buck you can get in the spice grinder appliances market. It costs less than $20 and is a really good buy for the tasks that you will put it through. It comes with a 125-watt motor and would seem small, but it does its job pretty well. The grinder comes with an internal chamber that is removable for easy cleaning and also accessing the ground contents.
This grinder has a very quiet mode of operation compared to its competitors. It ships with stainless steel blades, and you can use it to grind spices as well as versatile enough to use it to grind coffee beans and more.
There is a hideaway cord storage on the bottom of the grinder, which makes it easy to store the cord out of sight while not in use. It can grind up to 9 tablespoons of coffee beans in one batch, which is good for 12 cups of coffee. It is extremely easy to use, clean, and maintain.
Being a small size, almost the size of a protein shaker, it is easy to store anywhere. It runs at just one speed and is good enough for the grinding. Good for precision grinding, they will give you the exact texture you need every time. It offers hands-free operation and comes with an auto-shutoff feature. The dimensions are 3.74 x 3.54 x 7.13 inches, and it weighs 1.3 pounds.
- Quieter operation.
- Good looking.
- Small size.
- Features cord storage.
- Removable grinding chamber.
- Easy to use.
- Grinds very fine.
- Very cheap.
- It may appear slightly underpowered.
- The cord is short.
- Will need to process in multiple batches due to the small grinding capacity.
Secura Electric Coffee and Spice Grinder
The Cuisinart Spice and Nut Grinder came with all-in-one functionality and is appreciable. But sometimes, you need additional features and accessories. Here we present you the Secura Electric Coffee and Spice grinder, which ships with a full assortment of accessories. They include removable Stainless Steel bowls, out of which one is a grinder bowl and the other a chopper bowl.
The two-blade grinder bowl can be used for dry ingredients, while the chopper bowl with four blades is meant for wet ingredients. Even while grinding coffee, you can get a variety of textures as desired from the grinder to suit the exact coffee you are making. An external safety lock lid completely enclosed the bowl within and ensured a safe operation.
The bowls have a separate lid to cover them during use. The maximum capacity is 2.5 ounces, and the unit features a one-touch operation by which you have to just press the top lid to start the grinder. The longer the grinder runs, the finer the grounds will be. The grinding is fast, and the grounds are ready in a few seconds of operation. That’s how fast it is.
This extremely good-looking product comes with Stainless Steel blades and a Stainless Steel exterior. The bowls are dishwasher safe and easy to clean and maintain. It ships with smart overheat protection, which is a thermal switch. The switch will turn off the motor automatically. The cord can be wrapped in the base and hide it when not in use. The product dimensions are 9.92 x 5.51 x 5.43 inches, and it weighs 2.7 pounds.
- Good looks.
- Good build quality.
- Grinds to a really fine powder.
- Easy to use and clean.
- Quiet operation.
- Good value for money.
- Cord Storage.
- Smart overheat protection.
- It may seem expensive.
Spice Grinder Options
We have seen today that there are several options for spice grinder available that not just grind the spices with ease but also can do a variety of other jobs like wet grinding, grinding coffee beans, etc.