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Anyone who loves to cook knows that fresh herbs and spices, together with other quality ingredients, are key to a great dish. And when it comes to pepper, nothing beats freshly-ground using a good old mortar and pestle. However, when you don’t have it in your kitchen (which you should!), is there some other way to crush those peppercorns?
A good substitute for a mortar and pestle for crushing peppercorns is using a meat mallet. By using the flat end of the mallet, you can pound peppercorns to create a freshly-ground batch. Other substitutes include an electric spice grinder and unusual alternatives like an electric blender.
Excited to discover alternative ways to get freshly-ground peppercorns? Read the rest of this article to learn more about what substitutes you can use and how to use them. Let’s get crushing!
Pound The Peppercorns With a Meat Mallet
A meat mallet is something that we typically use to tenderize meats, such as when you want to have steak for dinner. But you can also use your trusty meat mallet to crush peppercorns if you don’t have a mortar and pestle at home.
Take note, though, that using a meat mallet will give you coarsely ground peppercorns (not the fine pepper powder that you can achieve with a mortar and pestle).
To crush your peppercorns with a meat mallet, here are things you will need:
- Meat mallet
- Coffee filter or Ziploc bag
- Chopping board
To use a meat mallet to crush peppercorns, follow these steps:
- Place about a tablespoon (9.17 g) of peppercorns inside the coffee filter or Ziploc bag. It’s more manageable to work on a tiny batch of peppercorns, so if you need a lot, do several batches.
- Fold the peppercorns in the filter or bag, making sure that there are no open sides. You don’t want the pepper to fly everywhere when you start crushing.
- Start pounding the peppercorns with the flat side of the meat mallet.
- Check the grounds for coarseness. If you want your grounds to be finer, you can keep crushing.
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Use an Electric Grinder to Grind Peppercorns
If you’re a fan of fresh spices in your dishes–I mean, who isn’t, right?–you need to have an electric spice grinder. This is a nifty kitchen appliance that you can use for any dry spice, like herbs and peppercorns. (If you want something for wet spices or if you intend to create a paste, you can use a mixer grinder with a wet jar instead.)
Unlike with a mortar and pestle, using an electric grinder is actually much easier and more convenient. With a push of a button, you can have finely ground pepper.
However, if you don’t have an electric grinder at home, do you know that you can also use an electric blender instead? Yep! The only drawback is that you will need to put in a lot more peppercorns (at least ¼ cup or 36.67 g) in one go to achieve a good grind.
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3. Try a Coffee Grinder
Do you love your cup of joe and prefer to grind coffee beans by yourself? Well, you can actually put your coffee grinder to use when you need freshly ground peppercorns too. But if you do use this method, make sure to wash your grinder thoroughly after use, or else your coffee might taste a little peppery.
To use a coffee grinder to crush peppercorns:
- Pour your peppercorns into the grinder.
- Set the grinder to the level of fineness you want your peppercorns ground.
Once you complete these steps, voila! You now have freshly ground pepper. The coffee grinder makes a great alternative to a spice grinder. And you don’t need to use as many peppercorns as you would with an electric blender too.
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However, unlike when you use a spice grinder, a coffee grinder won’t be able to produce very fine pepper powder, even if you set the fineness to the maximum setting.
A mortar and pestle is the best way to crush peppercorns. Nevertheless, if you don’t have one in your kitchen, you can get creative and use other items that are available to you. However, unlike crushing with a mortar and pestle, expect the results to be a bit messier and to take a little more work.