I read it somewhere . . . that you could use a coffee grinder to grind spices. When I started running across coffee grinders for 25 and 50 cents at garage sales, I bought an extra one for my “Spare Shelf” (See my July 17, 2010 blog). One day I ran out of cinnamon at a critical point in preparing dessert. There was no time to run to the grocery store. A coffee grinder from the spare shelf and some stick cinnamon from the back of the spice cabinet saved the day.
I now keep a coffee grinder dedicated to the grinding of spices.
General wisdom (or the herb and spice producers wanting to turn a bigger profit) is that all spices are stale after six months and should be thrown out! (I never do this, so don’t take it as sage—cringe!—advice.) It is true that freshly ground spices are more pungent and taste better. Freshly ground coriander and pepper are good examples.
I use my coffee/spice grinder for grinding the spices for my dry chai mix, black pepper for recipes that call for large amounts of that spice, and whenever I run short of the common baking spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
Grinding is simple. Just drop the spices in and pulse until they are as finely chopped as you wish. Be sure to unplug and wipe out your grinder after each use so you don’t get any interesting combinations!
Happy grinding. Begonia