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Old 05-25-2010, 05:30 PM   #1
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Modern mortar and pestle

I frequently find myself wanting to grind ingredients up together. I think I would like a mortar and pestle set for myself, but I do not know anything about them aside from that they grind what you put in them.

What material would be best for general purpose grinding? Should I have separate ones for different types of ingredients? How and when should I clean them? I gather that some folks treat them like a skillet that never gets truly cleaned and thus has its own flavors.

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Old 05-25-2010, 05:42 PM   #2
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If I were to get a M&P, I'd go for a stone one. Heavy enough to be stable during the grinding process and abrasive enough to speed things along.

That being said, I use an electric coffee grinder to grind spices.
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Old 05-25-2010, 06:13 PM   #3
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I also use a cheap electric coffee grinder, that I use only for spices, and it's never ground coffee. To clean it I fill it with rice, and grind away...throw out the ground rice containing all the oils and flavors of the spices, and it's set to go for the next time.
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Old 05-25-2010, 06:23 PM   #4
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A coffee grinder is a fantabulous tool for grinding dry spices, but an authentic M&P is great for the fresh herbs, and you can make fabulous salsas in one... I love my M&P and wouldn't trade it for the world...

P.S. it's great for the arms...
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Old 05-25-2010, 08:39 PM   #5
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I got one from chemichal lab supply. It is some sort of a stoneweare (sp?), it is white and heavy and very nice.
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Old 05-26-2010, 08:21 AM   #6
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A coffee grinder may work well. But really it's just chopping everything into smaller bits. It's not actually grinding the flavour from different fresh ingredients together. Like smushing garlic, there is something to be said about grinding the juices out of fresh herbs.
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Old 05-26-2010, 08:30 AM   #7
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A coffee grinder may work well. But really it's just chopping everything into smaller bits. It's not actually grinding the flavour from different fresh ingredients together. Like smushing garlic, there is something to be said about grinding the juices out of fresh herbs.
Making small pieces out of big pieces is what happens either way, chopping or grinding. The flavors will bend when you cook them.
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Old 05-26-2010, 08:35 AM   #8
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I .got ny M&P at a local asian market. You want a fairly large one. Mine has a bowl around 6 inches interior. The marble ones are not much good IMO.
Grinding to a powder is somewhat tedious, but the flavor is worth it. Lemongrass and Kaffir lime really only work when pulverized.
I do wash mine, but do not use soap, just a thorough scrub and steel wool.
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Old 05-26-2010, 05:43 PM   #9
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Making small pieces out of big pieces is what happens either way, chopping or grinding. The flavors will bend when you cook them.
I'm afraid I have to strongly disagree. especially in cases where the food is not cooked, the grinding adds greatly to the overall end flavour.
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Old 05-26-2010, 05:49 PM   #10
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... the grinding adds greatly to the overall end flavour.
More than grinding in a coffee grinder?
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Old 05-26-2010, 05:49 PM   #11
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I agree that the marble M&Ps are not that great. Honestly, I cannot use mine as I seem to lack the strength/ability/talent to effectively grind up the spices. Frank does a great job with it. I'd love a M&P that I can actually use. I purchased a Middle Eastern spice grinder. It's pretty, but I am concerned about mingled flavors. It is very hard to clean. It grinds up spices great though.

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Old 05-26-2010, 06:09 PM   #12
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More than grinding in a coffee grinder?
Despite it being called a coffee "grinder" I do believe it is much more of a chopper. When I chop garlic for example to rub on my steaks before I BBQ them, I also squish all the juices to the surface of the little bits of garlic to bring out the flavour. Adding a tiny bit of salt enhances this even more. If I just made the garlic really small by chopping it, it wouldn't be a very good "spread" for steak. It needs pressure to become such. Grinding fresh spices and chopping them are two different processes as well in the same manner. If I used dry spices I'm sure it would make no difference. Maybe I'm crazy, but I do see a difference.
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Old 05-26-2010, 06:29 PM   #13
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I purchased a Middle Eastern spice grinder. It's pretty, but I am concerned about mingled flavors. It is very hard to clean. It grinds up spices great though.
Kathleen, would my method of cleaning my electric coffee grinder with rice work with your grinder?

Does it look like this Kathleen? I have one that was a gift from the father of my late husband many years ago. I use it as my only pepper grinder, and every time I use it I think of them.

Turkish Brass Coffee Mills Turkish Coffee Grinders TurkishGiftBazaar.com
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Old 05-29-2010, 11:04 AM   #14
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Turkish Spice Mill

Kayelle,

It looks very similar to that! It's like this one: TurkishGiftBazaar.com Turkish Brass Spice Grinders Spice Mill

I believe the grinders are the same.

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Old 05-29-2010, 11:38 AM   #15
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You might want to look at a "molcajete", a Mexican M&P dating back hundreds of years and made out of basalt.
It grinds extremely well, but note, the downside if it is one, is that like a cast iron pan, it needs seasoning.
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Old 05-29-2010, 12:13 PM   #16
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You might want to look at a "molcajete", a Mexican M&P dating back hundreds of years and made out of basalt.
It grinds extremely well, but note, the downside if it is one, is that like a cast iron pan, it needs seasoning.
I just googled it. What a pretty kitchen tool as well. What size would be best?
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Old 05-29-2010, 12:24 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Kayelle View Post
I also use a cheap electric coffee grinder, that I use only for spices, and it's never ground coffee. To clean it I fill it with rice, and grind away...throw out the ground rice containing all the oils and flavors of the spices, and it's set to go for the next time.
Thats BRILLIANT!!!
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Old 05-29-2010, 12:29 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Kayelle View Post
Kathleen, would my method of cleaning my electric coffee grinder with rice work with your grinder?

Does it look like this Kathleen? I have one that was a gift from the father of my late husband many years ago. I use it as my only pepper grinder, and every time I use it I think of them.

Turkish Brass Coffee Mills Turkish Coffee Grinders TurkishGiftBazaar.com
I have one of these for pepper (ala Jeff Smith). I like it as it has a very fine grind and the pepper does not add texture.

I also have a regular pepper grinder so that I can have texture in some things.
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Old 05-29-2010, 01:16 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MSC View Post
You might want to look at a "molcajete", a Mexican M&P dating back hundreds of years and made out of basalt.
It grinds extremely well, but note, the downside if it is one, is that like a cast iron pan, it needs seasoning.
Gosh, I think I have to have one of these even if I never use it. How does one season it MSC?

Check out the video at this site of how they are hand made!! Holy cow, what a lot of work to make one........
Authentic Mexican Black Molcajete (Black Stone Mortar and Pestle) 9"

Bigdaddy.....yep, my pepper grinder is ala Jeff Smith. Love it!
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Old 05-29-2010, 02:49 PM   #20
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Although I'm very satisfied with our Milton Brook brand porcelain #6 (3 pint working capacity) mortar & pestle, a finer consistency powder seems to be achievable with marble. Cleanup is accomplished by grinding coarse salt, followed by treatment with a baking soda paste.
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