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Salt Pepper Mills - How to Choose a Salt and Pepper Mill

grind metal food blades

While nearly everyone has enjoyed freshly cracked pepper on top of soups or salads in restaurants, not everyone enjoys pepper straight from a mill at home. Even more rare are salt mills, which can be used to crack different varieties of salt onto your food. There are many reasons to grind pepper or salt rather than keeping pre-ground cans in your pantry. When you grind pepper, the fresh peppercorn releases volatile oils that flavor your food. These oils become dull and stale in pre-ground pepper, providing much less flavor. While salt does not go stale, there are other reasons to use a mill to grind salt. Cracked salt can add different texture to dishes. Additionally, gourmet or specialty salts typically come in very large crystals. If you wish to use these delicious and elegant salts in your food, you will need to purchase a salt mill.

Salt and pepper mills come in many different styles. The three main types of salt and pepper mills are the standard twist-top mills, lever operated mills, and electric salt and pepper mills. If you are going for a traditional style, the twist top mills are the way to go. People who have already have pepper mills at home likely have this style. Lever operated mills consist of two levers that you squeeze together, much like a pair of scissors. These mills are generally more modern looking. Finally, electric mills may be used if you wish to have a lightning quick grind. However, these mills will produce a mechanical sound that may be a bit louder than the simple “crack” from more traditional mills.

One of the most important factors to consider when purchasing a salt or pepper mill is the composition of the blade. While many cheaper mills come with plastic blades or gears, the grinding action will eventually wear away at this plastic. In addition to depositing plastic bits in your food, these mills will cease to function. A mill with metal blades is a good choice for grinding pepper. However, salt will eventually corrode metal. As such, it is important to purchase a salt mill with a ceramic blade. Ceramic will stay sharper much longer than metal, as well. So, although a pepper mill with metal blades will be effective, ceramic blades may be an even better bet.

When purchasing salt and pepper mills, you will have the option of purchasing a mill that includes both functions in one item, or a matching set. This decision will be based on your own personal preferences and the amount of space you have to store the item or items. Typically, mills that grind both salt and pepper have separate reservoirs and mills for each seasoning, one located on the top of the device, and the other located on the bottom. Separate mills that stand alone or that fit together in matching sets can also be purchased. Some people may choose matching mills of the same type and simply store salt in one and pepper in the other. However, as noted above, it is very important that you do not grind salt in a mill designed for pepper as salt can corrode some of the metals that are used in pepper mills.

As far as the appearance of your salt and pepper mills go, you have many options. Many materials, from traditional looking wooden mills, to clear acrylic mills, to modern looking brushed aluminum mills, can be purchased. As far as these option go, wood can be difficult to clean, as it will absorb oils from your skin and other foods. Acrylic is easy to clean, and the clear appearance enables you to measure the quantity of salt and/or pepper left in the device. Metal is also easy to clean, however, oily smudges are more likely to show up on the surface.

Salt and pepper mills also come in any style you can imagine, from intricate and beautiful mills that will easily serve as conversation pieces, to simpler and more utilitarian mills. No matter your needs or style, there are salt and pepper mills that will fit in your kitchen, providing beauty and flavor.

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