Grinding spices is a technique as old as cooking itself. Grind whole ingredients into a powder using a mortar and pestle, a molcajete, an electric spice grinder, a pepper mill (yes, it can grind spices other than peppercorns!), or even the flat side of a knife.
Grinding spices unlocks maximum flavor. It increases surface area, more easily disperses the spice flavor into a dish, smooths out their texture for sauces, and allows them to be incorporated fully into a dish. The process for grinding spices is straightforward: add spices into the grinding mechanism of your choice and grind to the desired texture. An inexpensive electric spice grinder or coffee grinder works great, and one with a removable cup makes for easy cleanup.
TRY IT OUT
Grate nutmeg with a Microplane or grater and add a pinch to pancake mix for a sweet, complex flavor.
For a bright, aromatic seasoning for grilled meat or vegetables, combine whole black peppercorns, fermented white peppercorns, fennel seeds, and coriander seeds in your pepper mill. Keep them on hand for everyday use, and grind directly over meat or veggies before roasting or grilling.