In my kitchen I use an electric coffee grinder for almost all of my spice grinding needs. It pulverizes thick chunky salts for delicate pizza crusts and takes care of things like cloves this time of year. I don't usually want my flavors mingling with the next one getting ground up, though, so to keep things clean I just use a little rice. Want to see how it works?
The idea is simple and it's one we've mentioned before, but with the upcoming holiday season, we thought it would be a good time for a refresher. For today's example, the last thing I used my grinder for was some black sea salt. Its flavor is strong and quite tasty, but it doesn't play well with the holiday baking that my grinder will be used for this weekend.
To start, I simply fill the grinder with uncooked rice. It doesn't matter what kind of rice; the premise is still the same. Use what you have or what's least expensive. It takes around a half cup to get the job done, sometimes more depending on how messy things are in there.
Next, turn it on and let it whirl. The grains of rice pick up all the seasonings that are jammed up under the blades and anything loose inside the chamber itself.
As an added bonus, when you dump out your ground-up rice and residual spice mixture, it takes all that junk with it. You don't have to use a pastry brush to clean anything out; it just slides right in the trash can or compost bucket. The whole thing takes all of 30 seconds and keeps you clean in between strong flavorings and spice mixings during your holiday baking and preparation!
(Image: Sarah Rae Trover)