Spice, salt, & pepper mills.
How does it Work?
A mill works by feeding a solid material in between two abrasive elements, at least one of which is moving and grinding the material into smaller parts. In a well-designed salt and/or pepper mill, the two abrasive elements are called the inner and outer mechanisms. The inner mechanism is the part that moves by means of a drive shaft (stem) linked to the lid of the mill. The outer mechanism, fixed in the body of the mill, does not move. The mill works by turning the lid, which turns the stem, which then turns the mechanism.
Pepper or salt kept in the body of the mill is gravity fed into the space between the inner and outer mechanisms. Both the inner and outer mechanisms have teeth molded into the sides in a downward spiral that force the pepper or salt downward, while simultaneously grinding it.
Why should I grind?
* One of the best ways to release the pepperin oil from a peppercorn is to grind the corns through a mill. Stripping the corn between two sets of teeth grinding towards each other releases the pepperin oils and as a result, yields the best flavor.
* The quality of the mechanism should always be the first consideration in judging whether a pepper mill is good or not. Carbon or stainless steel mechanisms designed with a lifetime guarantee are a good choice.
* Only the highest-quality coatings on carbon steel mechanisms should be used to guarantee a lifetime free of corrosion and prevent the addition of metal to your meal.
* Since salt is one of the most corrosive materials, many producers use nylon mechanisms. Nylon mechanisms, however, can be ground down using rock salt, so it is important to use sea salt to maintain the best of both worlds--a healthy mill and a healthy body.
* Ceramic mechanisms are also a good choice for grinding salt since they are inert and much harder than plastic.
How should I care for my spice grinder?
* Always grind in a clockwise direction when milling pepper or salt.
* To adjust a mill, loosen or tighten the knob on top for finer or coarser grinds.
* Turn the mill upside down when adjusting it to ensure the mill is empty of previous grounds.
* Clean your mills with a damp cloth only.
* Try to use sea salt--it's good for both you and your mill.
* Avoid direct contact with steam when grinding as it can clog up your salt mill and make the peppercorns moister than normal.
* Store stocks of salt and pepper only in dry, clean environments.
* Put a few grains of rice in the salt shakers to stop the salt from clogging--the rice will absorb any moisture.
* Give the pepper mill a quick shake after grinding to prevent excess grounds from falling out of the mill.
What is the right mill for me?
* The look, the mechanism's quality, and the price are personal preferences every consumer must determine.
* Mills may come as individual salt and pepper mills, salt-and-pepper combos, or gift sets. They can be made of acrylic, glass, stainless steel, wood, or a mixture of all four. Choose a mill that fits both your personality and needs.
* Some high-quality mills allow you to lock the grind, giving you perfect consistency from coarse to fine.
Pepper is the fruit of an East Indian plant, a bright red berry that turns black after it's harvested and dried.
White pepper is the end result after the outer layer of dried black pepper is removed.
Peppercorns were once used as currency and paved the way through Oriental spice routes.
To this day, pepper is the most widely used seasoning in the world.