If you've been using the centuries-old approach of employing a mortal and pestle for grinding whole spices, try reaching for a more modern appliance to make this task easier and faster.
Why a Coffee Grinder Is Better
Your electric coffee grinder isn't the uni-tasking appliance you thought it was. In fact, it's nearly identical to an electric spice grinder, and can be used in place of one. Compared to the mortar and pestle, an electric blade grinder speeds up pulverizing spices and proves particularly useful when grinding a big batch of spices. It also has the capability to whittle down spices to a smaller, more fine consistency.
Of course, do be sure to clean your coffee grinder when switching between coffee beans and spices, or you'll be in for a surprise.
Electric Blade Grinder > Burr Grinder
Not all grinders are created equal when it comes to tackling whole spices. There are two standard types of electric coffee grinders: the electric blade grinder and the burr grinder. While both work well to grind the beans for your morning brew, stick with the less expensive electric blade grinder when working with whole spices. Burr grinders don't produce ground spices quite as fine as you can get with blade grinders, and they can have a tough time handling larger spices and those with husks, like cardamom pods. Some models are also tricky to clean, leaving hidden bits of coffee or ground spices in its recesses.
Keep That Mortar and Pestle, Though
Of course, this isn't about replacing the mortar and pestle. This age-old kitchen tool is still around for reasons beyond how beautiful it looks on a kitchen countertop. The best pesto of your life is possible with the help of a mortar and pestle, and if you have a really big one you can make awesome guacamole.
But when it comes to spices, pick the technological upgrade and use that coffee grinder.
Get inspired: 10 Things to Prepare with a Mortar and Pestle
Your turn! What else do you use your coffee grinder for?