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Old 07-03-2007, 11:59 AM   #1
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Mortar & Pestle

This weekend i got a nice marble mortar & pestle as a gift. i tried using it to grind up spices (dill seed) but i couldnt really get it to crush. am i doing something wrong? i simply put in the dill seed and started workign it. do i need to put something else in there with it?

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Old 07-03-2007, 12:10 PM   #2
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How exactly were you working it? If gently tapping on it doesn't work, use sort of a stirring motion to grind the spices around the side.
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Old 07-03-2007, 12:21 PM   #3
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I had tried both, taping, and then just spinning around. neither seemed to be doing anything. i almost wonder if it's too smooth a surface on the inside. i feel like it should be rougher so that the grains / herbs have something to catch on...
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Old 07-03-2007, 12:25 PM   #4
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srm, dill seeds are pretty thin/flat, though. Try something with some body to it like coriander, mustard seed, or cumin seeds to see if they work better. It they don't, then it might be the surface. I have used my FIL's marble set when we visit and really like it. Both parts are still smooth and it works well for most spices.
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Old 07-03-2007, 12:59 PM   #5
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I find that grinding a couple of spices together helps. Those coriander seeds are a real challenge and keep hopping out!
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Old 07-03-2007, 01:00 PM   #6
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oK. i'll give it a shot tonight and report back!
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Old 07-03-2007, 02:03 PM   #7
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The marble ones are a hit or miss. The real deal are the ones made of basalt rock and can get pricey. I have one that is made of brass and is extremely heavy. You can grind anything in it without a lot of effort. They are just very noisy.
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Old 07-03-2007, 02:52 PM   #8
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My pestle has an unglazed porcelain surface. It's great for making my saffron go further and really brings out the flavor of sesame seeds. I do prelimary cleanup by crushing/grinding some coarse salt with it.
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Old 07-03-2007, 03:40 PM   #9
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I have a marble one with a pretty rough surface on the inside. Usually, I'll use a tapping/twisting motion to start, then use a stirring method.

If the recipe calls for olive oil, you can add a touch of that to keep the spice under a little control.
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Old 07-03-2007, 04:34 PM   #10
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srm, it does take a bit of pressure. If you are having trouble take a bit of regular old table salt and play with it.

I find them very convenient because of the ease of clean up rather than the electric whizzers.

Good luck.
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