During my time living in dorm rooms and small apartments, I would find myself in need of many different appliances—a food processor for making hummus, a blender for vegetable smoothies, or even a mortar and pestle for muddling mojito-bound mint leaves. Luckily, there was one tiny, inconspicuous tool that solved all of these problems: the coffee grinder.
- Don't Miss: What to Do When You Don't Have a Mortar & Pestle
Coffee grinders are simply mini-food processors, but equipped with the very handy ability to adjust the coarseness of your grind to your preferences. This versatility makes them an essential kitchen appliance for single-serving use—which also makes them the perfect gift for your friends.
Here are a few of my favorite ways to use coffee grinders, but keep in mind: the number of ways in which you can use this handy tool is limitless!
Okay, let's start with the obvious. It may seem like an unnecessary step in your morning routine—particularly when you're comatose until your daily dose of caffeine—but grinding coffee beans immediately before brewing is absolutely worth it.
The difference is a fresher-tasting jolt, and a beautiful flavor you won't fathom tainting with cream or sweetener!
You can also take your java fix up a notch by adding spices while grinding your coffee beans for a wonderfully infused flavor.
Spice racks are both visual and gustatory essentials in a kitchen. All of those little lined up bottles are so aesthetically pleasing and flavor-enhancing. But you don't need to go to any fancy spice shops to get certified-fresh spices: thankfully, most spices are totally easy to make at home.
Just add whatever whole spices you'd like to grind to your coffee grinder, set the grinder to a fine coarseness, and you're all set! (Exceptions to the fine coarseness are dried red pepper and dried herbs such as rosemary or tarragon, which should be coarsely ground only.)
You can easily tailor your spices to fit the seasons. Maybe hot pepper flakes will amp up summer salads, or mulling spices can make the holidays that much cozier.
You can also get creative with your favorite snack foods by turning Doritos or other chips into the perfect topper for chili, nachos, or whatever you choose.
Breadcrumbs are so versatile, but I tend to use them so frequently that I often run out... particularly at times when they're needed most. However, regular sandwich bread can be transformed into superfine breadcrumbs after a few pulses in the coffee grinder!
So, the next time you need to thicken a sauce or soup ASAP, you're all set.
This is also a great way to save stale bread from going to waste. And the staler the bread, the drier the breadcrumbs—which are ideal for crispy, deep-fried goodness.
- Don't Miss: A Guide to Breading & Frying Meat to Perfection
If ever you've been mid-recipe and realized you don't have powdered sugar in your pantry, fear not—your coffee grinder will, once again, prove its weight in gold.
Give granulated sugar a whirl in the grinder for ten seconds and—magic!—powdered sugar will appear. Onward with your sweet-toothed agenda!
If you'd like to see a video that demonstrates this hack with a little more detail, check out this article.
Any simple cut of meat, poultry, or fish can be amped up with the proper flavorful rub.
By throwing your favorite herbs (and perhaps a garlic clove or two) into the coffee grinder and making them into a paste, you can add a ton of flavor into any dish in less than ten seconds.
While there are some foods that you don't think could ever be naturally produced, there's usually a healthier (and more traceable) alternative. Protein powder is one such thing that doesn't need to come in an imposing jug... especially because their labels usually feature capital letters that look like they're yelling at you. Once again, turn to your coffee grinder for a DIY post-workout boost.
Or, if you're feeling less health-inspired and want to indulge your sweet tooth, focus on dressing up desserts with these simple Skittles sprinkles. They add some extra fruity color to any treat!
By now, it should be abundantly clear that the coffee grinder is a fantastic addition to your kitchen and (should be) a welcome gift to friends and family alike—especially if they cook a lot of single serving-sized meals. From hummus to pesto, or even for making fresh peanut butter, this grinder really deserves a place on your counter.