A dish can be made more flavorful with fresh spices. Garam masala can take you to India and a fiery blend of xinjiang will transport you to China. The volatile aromatics found in spices quickly dissipate, so pre-ground coriander tastes less like citrus and more like stale pine. It is best to purchase spices whole. This allows you to preserve their complex flavors and aromas until you are ready to let them go.
This is easy with a good spice mill. A mortar and pestle can be used to make small amounts of mace and fennel on the fly. However, if you are constantly pounding for large quantities or daily cooking, an electric spice grinder will come in handy. Most blade spice grinders are also advertised as coffee grinders, sometimes exclusively. These devices can be used for grinding coffee but a burr grinder is better.
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Burr grinders can be used to control the size of your coffee, which will result in better brewing. We believe these blade grinders should only be used for their true purpose, which is grinding spices. Cuisinart decided, in a rare move, to only market its grinder for spices and nuts and not coffee. If you prefer to grind spices or coffee with a blade grinder, you can purchase two.
There are many great spice grinders on the market, but the Secura Electric coffee and Spice Grinder is our top pick for several reasons. It has two separate grinding bowls. One is for cutting and one for grinding. The two separate bowls prevent flavors from blending while grinding. Additionally, the different blades ensure you get the perfect grind for any spice or ingredient.
You can also use the measurement markings on both sides of the bowls to easily add whatever you need, unless you prefer separate measuring spoons. The Secura is also compact and counter-friendly, delivering power in a small package. The Secura’s 200-watt motor is powerful enough to handle most spices and larger items, such as nuts and coffee beans. It also has an overheat protection that extends its life span so it can be kept around for some time.
The Krups Silent Vortex Electric Grinder is quieter than other grinders that can be too loud. The Krups Silent Vortex Electric Grinder is a great choice if you are an early-morning cook or need something to do the work while your child sleeps. The patent-pending Vortex spin technology helps to pull ingredients into the blades, resulting in a quiet and efficient grinding. You can either hold the button down to continue grinding or tap to pulse-grind.
Cuisinart’s ability to work with other ingredients than spices was what really made it stand out from the rest. This model is marketed as a spice-and-nut grinder. It can grind up to 1/2 cup of raw or roasted nuts and transform them into almost any form, from a rough chop, to fine flour. I enjoyed the ease of making my own almond meal and dreamed of creating custom dukkah blends with just a few pulses.
It’s easy to clean because the Cuisinart uses a removable grinder cup instead of a fixed one. Dishwasher safe. Errant spices can be cleaned from the base using a damp cloth. The Cuisinart can also be used to grind rice and bread, as well as any leftover spices. The Secura grinder turned whole spices into fine powder in a matter of seconds. The two cup attachments (one “grinder” one one “chopper”) were intriguing to me.
This latter works as a mini food processor and can be used to chop up nuts, onions or bread. The instructions warn that the cup can’t be leakproof and liquid-releasing ingredients must be removed as soon as the food is chopped. This was too much for me. Also, the grinder can’t handle hard nuts or rice. The Secura model cannot create almond meal, or use rice to clean the inside.
The Cuisinart grinder was the easiest to use, and it produced the best-ground spices. Cuisinart’s grinding chamber has a capacity of 2/3 cup. This is more than our choice for the best budget grinder and less than the best manual spice mill. Each spice was reduced to powder within 45 seconds to one minute in the Cuisinart. The particles were very small.
Other grinders produced finer particles that clung to the lid or sides of the bowl, while pieces closer to the blades were much coarser. Cuisinart however, collected particles from the lid were identical to those found at the bowl’s base. The lid can be activated by pressing down on it. This was the easiest grinder to hold for longer than 10 seconds of all the ones we tested. It is made up of three pieces that fit together snugly.
The mortar and pestle-type crushing mechanism allows spices and seeds to be crushed and ground around its bottom and sides. The coarseness of the grind is determined by how many turns you make. The lid can be added to the inner cup for extra storage. The grinder works in the same way as a mortar-and-pestle. It can grind spices such as chilies and peppercorns as well as nuts, herbs, and other ingredients (basically anything you would use to make pesto).
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The grinder is less efficient with tougher ingredients, such as coffee beans. Although it has a good capacity, it works best with small quantities. It is manual so long as you don’t use it for too long can cause wrist and hand injuries. We loved the Secura Electric Spice Grinder because of its consistency and fine grind, versatility, design, and overall quality. It was capable of grinding all our test spices to a fine consistency.
It also made them grind the fastest. It has two stainless-steel bowls that we liked. It has two stainless steel bowls, one for grinding and one for cutting. This allows it to handle many spices, nuts, seeds and coffee, along with small quantities of nuts, vegetables, and fresh herbs. The clever design of the rubber-sealed lid, which covers the bowls during grinding and chopping, was appreciated by us. It helps to protect spices and other foods.
It was easy to clean up and less material was lost. The lid also doubles as a storage lid for excess spice. You can clean the grinding cups with soapy water or rinse them in warm water and dry them with a towel. Although this was our top grinder we did not like the cord-keeping feature. It was difficult to wrap the cord around the bottom of the spool and it kept coming out from the guide.