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5 Questions to ask BEFORE you buy a Pepper Mill

Posted by Kristy on

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Let’s be honest, is there really a big difference between freshly ground pepper and the pre-ground selection you can buy from the local supermarket? The deafening response from amateur and professional cooks alike is “YES”.

The most important difference is the flavours and aroma that come from freshly ground pepper vs pre-ground. From the second that little black peppercorn shell is cracked that beautiful pungent aroma and flavour starts to disappear. Now think how long that pre ground pepper has been sitting on the supermarket shelf?

Ok so were convinced freshly ground pepper is far superior to pre-ground. Now to wade my way through the hundreds of mills on the market. Battery operated or manual, large or small, wood or stainless steel, $10 vs $100 mills and the list goes on.

Now its decision time you need to decide are you looking for a pepper mill that compliments your dinner table or one that has all the bells and whistles? The good news is with such a massive range of mills on the market you can have a good looking mill that also gets the job done.

Start by asking yourself these questions:

1. Ease of use?

We all like to touch and feel things before we buy, purchasing a pepper a mill should be no different. Hold the mill in your hand and see how easy it is to manipulate the grinding mechanism. Ease of use is important in the kitchen when you’re trying to do 100 things at once.

2. How often will I use the mill?

The answer to this question will impact what size of mill you’re looking for and also the price you are willing to pay.

3. Do I need a university degree to re-fill the thing?

Don’t assume all mills have this magic door at the base that you simply re-fill in a split second. Some mills can have their very own instruction manual on how to refill. This problem is usually experienced with the cheaper mills but it’s always good to check before you buy.

4. Is the grinding mechanism ceramic or carbon steel?

The grinding mechanisms used in salt and pepper mills are different for a very important reason. Salt mills use a ceramic grinding mechanism due to the corrosive effects of salt. The mechanism is an important part of the mill as it controls the overall quality of the grind. Look for a mill that has a high quality grinding mechanism.

5. Can I use one mill for Salt & Pepper?

The short answer is no, as explained above the effects of salt on the grinding mechanism calls for a specific mill. Also important to remember grinding levels between salt and pepper differ ( i.e light dusting to crumb size ground pepper).

No matter what style of mill you choose it should always have a sturdy construction, be able to hold a fair amount of ingredient, uncomplicated to refill and have a quality grinding mechanism.


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