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Milly's 101: What Makes A Good Grinder?

Milly's 101: What Makes A Good Grinder?

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper - is there recipe out there that doesn't list these in the ingredients? Smart seasoning can lift an ingredient or dish out of the ho-hum and into the spectacular by bringing out both subtle and zesty flavours in your recipes - and a good mill makes grinding fresh, quick and simple.

But there are literally hundreds of different grinders on the market. Here at Milly's we have several brands: Peugeot, Cole and Mason, WMF, and Le Creuset to name just a few. We approve of all of these (which is why they're in our store!) because over the years we've built up our 'good mill criteria rules' which we'd like to share with you (because we want to get it right for you, first time). Caring for your new mill is really important too and here's our guide on Mill Care.

First things first, pick the right grinder for the job!

Not all mills are right for all spices! We know - head explosion - so make sure that you're using a pepper grinder for pepper and (obviously) a salt grinder for salt! The mechanisms in good grinders are spice specific: carbon or stainless steel blades for pepper (to cut your peppercorns rather than smush them) and ceramic for salt (no metal - so no rust!) Some brands, like Le Creuset, employ a ceramic mechanism for both pepper and salt - and that's ok too. Just don't try to use a metal mechanism for salt - especially in Auckland where we have lots of humidity! But which is which? You'll know a ceramic mechanism as it will generally be coloured white and will look almost 'plastic' (but it's not) - below left. 

Ceramic Grinding Mechanism Peugeot mills have an 'inny' and 'out' look going on:

Peugeot Pepper MechanismPeugeot Salt Mechanism

So, here's what we look for in your new mill:

It will grind pepper (or salt) quickly: A good grinder should be able to churn out your pepper quickly and efficiently so look for a grinder with a high quality mechanism that fits the task.

Easy to use and fill is good: Nobody wants to struggle with a complicated grinder, especially when you're right in the middle of a big cook or a new recipe. Look for a grinder with a user-friendly design that feels comfortable in your hand. Consider the shape and size of the grinder – does it feel natural to hold and use? And look for a mill that is easy to fill - a removeable top or a wide fill opening is ideal.

Clear, easily adjusted grind settings: The right grind is key to certain recipes - no one wants to see big chunky slabs of pepper in their delicate sauce for example. A good grinder should offer clear and easy-to-adjust settings that allow you to easily customise your grind size. 
And, most important, a consistent grind: There's nothing worse than unevenly ground pepper or salt ruining your recipe so look for a grinder that promises a uniform grind, every time. Most of the grinders here in store come with a little product already in them so you're free to check the texture of the product before you commit. 

When you're on the hunt for the perfect pepper or salt grinder, keep these key qualities in mind to ensure you're choosing the perfect grinder for you and how you like to cook. 

But wait, there's more! Caring for your new mill is just as important! Poor mill care will deliver sub-par results every time - and you could shorten the life of your grinder. Again, click here for our Milly's 101: Mill Care.


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