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Refilling a disposable pepper or salt mill

Lgalen Nov 26, 2006 05:31 PM

I'd like to try to get the top off of my empty Trader Joe's salt mill. My McCormick pepper mill is also nearly empty. I'd like to try to reuse them with whole spices such as cardamom, cumin, etc.
Is there a trick to getting the top off? Has anyone else tried this? Will it work?

  1. mizinformation Nov 26, 2006 05:35 PM

    Not sure about the McCormick's, but I refilled my TJ salt mill recently--I had to tap it on the counter a few times to dislodge the salt dust in the threads, but I was able to get the top off pretty easily. I didn't try other spices though, as I have some of that red salt from Hawaii I wanted to grind.

    1. g
      goziner Feb 18, 2007 05:33 PM

      Definetly not easy. The collar that twists to grind the pepper has lip inside that sits over the over the bottle locking it on. I used a small screwdriver to pry it up a little over the lip. Then wrapping the collar in tape I took some channel lock pliers and pulled off the collar, not easy but it can be done. Then I took a sharp utility knife and cut a thin sliver of plastic of the inside lip. NowI have an inexpensive, reuseable grinder.

      1 Reply
      1. re: goziner
        n
        nhirsch Nov 15, 2008 02:07 PM

        Thanks Goziner. Just used one small screwdriver to hold it apart and the second to go around the bottle. Viola! took a few seconds and after filling, snapped it right back on. I didn't cut anything off the inside since it was pretty easy and we probably won't need to refill for at least a year. Thanks for forging ahead and solving this question!

      2. RShea78 Feb 18, 2007 07:31 PM

        -----

        My personal feelings are to use a $4 mortar and a pestle for all the odd spices and herbs. You will get more control of the crush consistency in that case. Better yet is creating yourself some blended crushes that really spices up a favorite dish.

        However one of my friends that insists on recycling those will drill a 7/16 inch hole in the bottom using a special glass bit. He can get small corks in the local craft stores or use adhesive circles (office stickers), for plugging up the hole. He has noted to me that after about 2 maybe 3 refills the unit is rather shot.

        -----

        1. c
          CrazyOne Feb 19, 2007 04:21 PM

          Hmm....McCormick I never could figure out and didn't really think it was worth trying to figure out given the cost, but one thing I found with the TJ's mills we got more recently (both salt and pepper) is that they have easy to remove tops (they just unscrew) and thus can be easily refilled. Did I just hit a good batch? This is a matching pair of sea salt 3.3oz and black pepper 1.8oz, clear tops as well as clear bottle, if you're looking for them in the store. I dunno if the design changed either before or after I bought them, but these were bought sometime in the last couple months.

          I don't remember how much they cost. It seems possible you could probably find an equivalent cheap grinder for the same few bucks you would spend on these. Or maybe not. I gather each of these was about 3 bucks, maybe a little more. They are somewhat larger than the McCormick grinders.

          1. m
            MakingSense Feb 19, 2007 06:51 PM

            Why continue buying cheap mills that are meant to be disposable? The grinders wear out quickly. Decent mills can be purchased for as little at $7 - $10. Better quality peppercorns and salt will cost far less from Penzey's or even at the supermarket, packaged without the gimmick. You'll have the nice, good quality ones for a long time and enjoy using them on your table. http://www.surlatable.com/product/bod...
            I hate buying things that don't last.

            3 Replies
            1. re: MakingSense
              Soop Mar 13, 2009 03:26 AM

              I bought a refillable clear vinyl pepper mill. I hate the way it grinds, too fine. I taped up the old disposable one and I'm using that. I feel like I wasted £4.

              1. re: MakingSense
                t
                Tulsaboyw Aug 6, 2010 07:09 AM

                Usually true but.

                I have a grinder that is 100+ years old and still good.
                The only time anything was done to it was via dad in 1974.
                He actually replaced the inner part of the grinder.

                I did ask then why bother, per even then grinders for this were cheap.

                Its the coffee bean grinders that canbe expensive.
                Especially if getting combo units.

                But nowadays, more of us (even with $$) need to save.
                I would prefer to resuse a grinder nowadays even as cheap as they are,till they are not usuable... But since I have 4 of the very old ones, and using two soley for pepper related, I use up the re-usuables quickly and when possible empty them out.
                But my cheapie grinders are glass containers anyway..

                1. re: MakingSense
                  t
                  Tulsaboyw Aug 6, 2010 07:27 AM

                  In fact for my very old grinder its inards are easy to replace. and those parts are as cheap as disposable grinders.

                  In the end, the cost savings in reusing versus fancy has proven to equal out and not really be advantagous either way in the end.

                  However, short of spending $$ on trying to reuse grinders, I say to those who say why be so cheap, you must be wealthy to complain about other peoples efforts to save a buck.

                  I know millionaires who are rich soley becuase they save money on resusing all sorts of stuff... and some of them dont even live rich except for the bank acct.
                  Btw, one of them is a next door neighbor and is only 45, and we live in a soso avg part of town.

                2. c
                  CrazyOne Feb 20, 2007 12:19 PM

                  We don't keep anything on the table. The cat gets up there. ;-)

                  Hey, some people go for quality, some go for cheap and want to really keep it cheap. Whatever. I'm ambivalent on this particular issue, but I happened to read the thread and happened to have the TJ's bottles in the cabinet. Better quality peppercorns and salt would be lost on some people anyway.

                  For that matter, it looks like what the OP was after was a way to have a lot of cheap mills for different spices. At a few bucks, you can throw the salt out and still have a cheap grinder, and also one that's nice and compact. (Most pepper grinders you can buy are not that small and many are not see through.)

                  It's not a bad idea to me. I've never had much luck with mortar and pestle.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: CrazyOne
                    Lgalen Feb 20, 2007 07:37 PM

                    Thank you, CrazyOne. That was precisely my idea. I could fill one with allspice, another with nutmeg (I think), and other whole spices.

                    1. re: Lgalen
                      leanneabe Apr 24, 2007 02:54 PM

                      I'm not intricately familiar with the grinder design of the disposables, but would they really work with large spices like nutmeg? The grinders I have at home work because the salt rocks and peppercorns are small enough to get "caught" between the grinding teeth and then get crushed and ground. I don't see how nutmeg or other large spices would behave the same way... wouldn't they just scrape around and not get ground up? I use a microplane for cinnamon, nutmeg, and anise. I just buy small amounts of ground spices like coriander and allspice. If the occasion comes up that I want to use the whole spice, I'll just smash it with the pestle so the liquid gets infused with the spice.

                    2. re: CrazyOne
                      RShea78 Feb 21, 2007 02:47 AM

                      CrazyOne Wrote: ""I've never had much luck with mortar and pestle.""

                      If you are referring to items like whole pepper corns or hard seeds, yes it poses some problems, but they need to be cracked or scored first. Generally all they need is a love tap with the pestle. I also keep a kitchen set of pliers handy just in case. (Nothing special in the pliers other than they are stainless steel and used only for food)

                      I do see your point in having prefilled mills handy so I got some links together below.

                      http://www.global-grinders.com/index.html
                      http://www.fantes.com/peugeot_pepper_salt.htm (The $13.99 looks rather reasonable).
                      http://www.factorydirect2you.com/kuri...

                      -----

                      1. re: RShea78
                        c
                        CrazyOne Feb 21, 2007 12:34 PM

                        Heh, Global Grinders just looking at the design and their apparent market would appear to be the supplier for TJ's. Their bottles look just like that. Doesn't look like they are set up for small sales, plus there would appear to be shipping from South Africa in that case, but on a large scale like supplying stores that wouldn't matter.

                        BTW, the sea salt grinder at my local TJ's was just $1.69 (happened to be there last night so yes, I of course had to look at the price). I gather they aren't using the special steel (described in the Peugeot link) in the disposables, though, so it would be best to throw out the salt or buy the pepper units (pepper is $1.99, but they seemed to be out, had only lemon pepper at I think $2.49) In the spirit of avoiding too much wastage the disposables lose out, yes, but in terms of personal cash outlay it would take 5 of the disposables to equal even a $10 mill. I really like the Kuhn Rikon design in the last link, tho. Very pricey, but cool.

                        1. re: CrazyOne
                          c
                          CrazyOne Feb 21, 2007 03:32 PM

                          BTW, I just had the TJ's grinders out and should note: the grinding mechanism is *plastic* on both the salt and the pepper bottles. Who knows how long this will last. Certainly not as long as a good mill. Also it may not mill certain spices too well, not really sure, although if it does okay on the pepper and salt, I guess it should be fine for most. Just another piece of data to throw into the equation.

                    3. k
                      kayakado Feb 21, 2007 06:11 AM

                      I have some I got at carrabbas. No, I didn't steal them - I asked and they gave them to me. I use them for camping trips, picnis and at work. I use a set of pliers to grab the top and just tilt it off. I've been refilling them for at least 4 years.

                      1. l
                        leejohnson Apr 23, 2007 09:16 PM

                        Goziner's info below is correct. You can easily pop the top off a McCormick disposable spice mill grinder in less than 60 seconds and refill it. I just did it using Goziner's instructions and the exact same advice which I found on another cooking website. What you do is gently slide the tip of a knife (an old butter knife is fine; the less sharp, the better) under the edge of the black plastic. The entire black plastic part is simply held on by a raised ridge in the glass that runs completely around the top of the grinder mill about 3/4 of an inch from the top. I held both the knife and the glass part of the mill in my left hand so that neither the knife nor the glass container could move, turn or rotate. Then I very slowly rotated the black plastic part over the knife, pulling the black plastic AWAY from the tip of the knife and the glass container as I turned it. You will find that after about a full turn or two, part of the black plastic is up and away from the ridge. From that point on, you just gently wiggle the rest of it off the top. I just re-filled my McCormick black pepper grinder mill with whole Mexican oregano. In any case, it turns out to be so easy-to-do that I am going to buy more McCormick disposable spice mills and slowly create a complete matching set. It is much cheaper. more intelligent and environmentally conscious to buy and re-use these disposable grinding mills. This is especially the case because we will find them on sale, and spend much less than many others seem to be doing for what can only be called "status" grinding mills. The Celtic Sea Salt company at www.celticseasalt.com also has some nice grinding mills that come with their salts. Their mills have plastic tops that unscrew, are designed to be refillable and they look to use the same plastic grinding parts and fittings as do the McCormick "disposables". Therefore, IMHO, refilling McCormick mills is an extremely intelligent thing to do because they will last much longer than anyone who is trying to convince you to buy "status" mills appears to believe. Those people are just not very canny consumers. You've heard the phrase: too much money, too few brains? People who nay-say your and my wish to economize, be thrifty, and ecologically conscious have opinions and perspectives which can easily be dispensed with. Best Regards, Lee Johnson

                        1. k
                          kayakado Apr 24, 2007 08:10 AM

                          I have a few that I got at Barraba's and I use a channel lock pliers to remove the lids to refill them. I grab the lid with the pliers and pull it off at an angle. The lids are snap off and on - no threads. I use them for camping and picnics.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: kayakado
                            r
                            radar101 May 27, 2007 01:57 PM

                            I tried using a flathead screwdriver, and while trying to hold the lip open to unscrew the lid on a trader joe pepper mill, I cracked a small piece of plastic loose (~1/4"). The lid opened easily after that with just hand loosening. I've used the plastic grinder through four fillings of peppercorns and it is still grinding well. Hope this helps, though not quite elegant.

                            1. re: radar101
                              c
                              CrazyOne May 28, 2007 05:36 PM

                              That's weird. The plastic mills I have from Trader Joe's are still ones that can be unscrewed easily. There is nothing that prevents refilling the ones I have. Maybe they used to have different ones, or some locations have had different ones?

                          2. b
                            babydavid Nov 9, 2007 08:19 AM

                            Easy way --- soften and expand the plastic by using water heated to 190 degrees F., poured to a level that submerses only the grinding mechanism to no higher than its' collars edge, while the emptied bottle rests inverted in a Pyrex measuring cup. The plastic collar will pop off when pulled gently, wash and dry all parts with hairdryer. Salt and pepper grinding mechanisms appear to be common.

                            To reattach after filling...simply put collar and wheel back together securing one within the other, place back atop the bottle---then cover with a soft dish towel, and exert a direct downward force against the top of the bottle and its' collar, while they are on a counter top.

                            I have refilled in this manner tens of times with no issues noteworthy. The serrated edge grinder wheel internals are of a harder composition base than the securing collar, so many refills are possible.

                            1. m
                              mateopucu Mar 11, 2009 07:35 AM

                              I got the lid off my McCormick grinder by *pulling* off the lid with pliers, rather than trying to pry it off. The refill works great, better than any peppermill I've ever had.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: mateopucu
                                Channa Mar 11, 2009 09:03 AM

                                I'm glad to hear that. Did the grinder have a tall collar like these?

                                http://www.mccormick.com/Products/Her...

                                I bought one, hoping to fill it with a black peppercorn + cumin seed mix. So it was an unhappy surprise when I couldn't remove the top.

                                1. re: Channa
                                  j
                                  Jim Washburn Mar 11, 2009 05:16 PM

                                  I have two like that. The tops do come off. It takes a fair amount of force.

                                  Jim

                                  1. re: Jim Washburn
                                    Channa Mar 12, 2009 06:39 PM

                                    Success! And the roast peppercorn + cumin mix is very tasty indeed.

                              2. k
                                kayakado Mar 13, 2009 10:24 AM

                                I use a pair of pliers to get the tops off the grinders from Carrabba's. I just grip it and pull at a slight angle and they come right off, push to put them back on. We use these to go camping, so we don't need to take expensive grinders.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: kayakado
                                  n
                                  Nostradome Jun 1, 2009 08:15 AM

                                  ok,I left my coffee grinder at my brother's house (I watch it in winter) was goin nuts.....
                                  I have both a McCormick & a large see through PM.
                                  Tried to open both 3 wks ago...gave up.....this mornin could not take it any longer.....brothers house is to far.......faught with the plastic one -never opened - go back to McCormick ...search net ........thank god !!!
                                  OK, ITS NOT CIVET COFFEE ( Kopi Luwak ) BUT LIFE IS GOOD TODAY.
                                  TY ALL, Steve Nostradome
                                  http://www.myspace.com/nostradome

                                2. b
                                  blondee_47 Jun 6, 2009 01:34 PM

                                  Just refilled my McCormick grinder even tho they say do not re-use....very easy just slipped a butter knife under the black rim and pried off the top without any difficulty by see-sawing the top upwards.....re-filled with black peppercorns and put the top back on.....also with a see-saw movement downwards this time.

                                  1. j
                                    josephnl Jun 7, 2009 12:04 PM

                                    Not worth the effort. You can purchase an excellent ceramic spice mill at Ikea for $6.99 which attaches to extra spice jars also available from Ikea at 4 for $4.99. This is a top notch product which will last a lifetime. See 365+ spice grinder and jars at: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/search/?que...

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: josephnl
                                      j
                                      Jim Washburn Jun 7, 2009 08:48 PM

                                      I have several of the IKEA grinders and love them, but they are considerably heavier and bulkier than the McCormicks, which are so small and light one can carry them almost everywhere, and I do.

                                      Jim

                                      1. re: josephnl
                                        s
                                        speters33w Dec 28, 2009 01:10 PM

                                        If you're even too cheap to buy the Ikea spice mill (like me), go to Aldis or Big Lots and buy a cheap spice in a grinder (I usually buy Sea Salt or Dried Onion). The grinder tops on those bottles are threaded. Screw the grinder top off, discard or save the spice in a separate jar, then fill the grinder with whatever you want. It is reusable until the grinder wears down too much. This hasn't happened to me yet. I usually buy six or seven jars, keep the original spice in one, dump the rest into another container and use it for refills, then fill the others with whatever.
                                        I do not understand why McCormick does not want to use threaded grinder caps... no wait... I do... If you have to throw the bottle away or slice yourself with a butter knife to re-use it you're more likely to buy another grinder than refill. That's better for stockholders.

                                      2. l
                                        ldhjr1 Mar 21, 2010 02:11 PM

                                        well i just grabbed the side with a pair of pliers and my wife held the glass end and i pulled!!
                                        it came right off!! no prob!!

                                         
                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: ldhjr1
                                          k
                                          KingBeetle Apr 21, 2011 07:42 PM

                                          Followed your advice except I used a pair of channel-lock pliers… Cap popped right off like you said it would. You have made my wife very happy!

                                          1. re: KingBeetle
                                            j
                                            josephnl Apr 21, 2011 09:17 PM

                                            I truly can't understand why you would bother. Quality ceramic mills are so cheap, they are adjustable and grind perfectly, and will last forever. I've been using inexpensive Kuhn-Rikon mills for many years, and also have a six buck Ikea mill which isn't as pretty, but works perfectly. Why bother to reuse a cheap plastic grinder?

                                            1. re: josephnl
                                              John E. Apr 22, 2011 06:41 AM

                                              I agree. Why bother with attempting to re-use the disposable peppermills when you can also go to Goodwill and buy one for $2 or $3. I have bought quality pepper grinders made by Wm Bounds, Peugeot, Vic Firth, Kuhn-Rikon, Oxo, Bodum...there are also the cheap Mr. Dudley, Olde Thompson and others that work adequately as well.

                                            2. re: KingBeetle
                                              b
                                              blondee_47 Apr 22, 2011 05:07 AM

                                              Ditto mine came off with a pull too. but I find they tip over too easily - their shape has a flaw. too narrow at one end.

                                          2. ironuser Jun 10, 2010 07:47 AM

                                            It appears that McCormick has redesigned the grinder for different coarse settings now. I tried to remove the top of the newer one and the glass broke off inside the grinder top It's almost as though they have glued them to keep people from refilling them. Has anyone tried to refill the newer one?

                                            1. g
                                              geehound Jul 3, 2010 11:31 AM

                                              On the McCormick's Pepper Grinder, I worked at it for about 5 minutes with a screwdriver to no avail, so out of frustration, I grasped the top edge of the plastic on one side with a pair of regular pliers and yanked... top off in 1 second! Filled it and popped the top back on.

                                              1. y
                                                yabra Jul 10, 2010 01:52 PM

                                                I just grabbed the top with one hand, the glass container with the other and pulled apart strongly. It came out. What does not work with force usually works with more force!
                                                For me it was not the money savings to buy a new one, but I could not find them in Brazil and they grind really nice, much better than the average non-disposable ones.

                                                1. John E. Aug 10, 2010 07:33 AM

                                                  I realize this post is old but from my experience, refilling the disposable peppermills isn't worth it in the long run. I don't remember the brand, but I bought several of these peppermills on clearance. After they were empty of peppercorns we refilled them. After using them for a while, they stopped grinding the peppercorn efficiently. I think the manufacturers deliberately make them so that they wear out and will stop working after so many grinds.

                                                  I agree that you can get cheap peppermills that work well without have to spend $40+. I actually prefer the $7 model from Ikea.

                                                  http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/pro...

                                                  1. m
                                                    MNHAWKEYE Aug 26, 2010 01:41 PM

                                                    Before you go refilling those disposible spice bottles, think of this: Most of those are manufactured in China. A few in Taiwan and South Africa. Given their "high standards" of manufacturing in those areas, and the fact that that caps are made of plastic which breaks apart little by little as it grinds your spices, are you sure you want to continue using it? Think of what you're eatting. Instead of eatting plastic, buy a good grinder made of ceramic that will last for years. Should microscopic pieces break off - and they will, they do in ALL grinders - at least you're eatting a fairly organic substance, not an oil-based plastic with who knows what added into it. Sometimes being frugal isn't being smart. I won't buy those grinders at all.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: MNHAWKEYE
                                                      j
                                                      josephnl Aug 26, 2010 02:28 PM

                                                      Couldn't agree with you more. Ceramic mills are the only way to go, and they can be very inexpensive. Ikea sells one for about six bucks. My personal favorites are the Kuhn Rikons which are about thirty bucks, but will likely outlive me several times over. I don't throw money away, but really can't imagine why anyone would want to reuse the cheap disposable plastic mills that are sold containing pepper and other spices!

                                                      1. re: josephnl
                                                        o
                                                        ospreycove Apr 22, 2011 06:48 AM

                                                        I use a lot of Black Pepper, as well as other seasonings; if you can find an old crank coffee grinder, the one with the pull out drawer, they are made of wood with steel grinders, they work great., adjustable grind, makes a good quantity in just a turn or two of the handle, and it looks good on the counter. Have had mine for years.

                                                    2. p
                                                      purpleash Jun 4, 2011 03:39 PM

                                                      I was looking for a way to refill my McCormick Black Pepper Grinder, too. While reading all of the replies, I tried to imagine how you guys did it. I suddenly had a mental picture of several people with tools and boiling waters, pulling and pushing with all their might--I could even see the black clouds of frustration and the hands in the air for the successful attempts--all for a small bottle that was meant by its manufacturer to be disposed of. Which I, too, have no intention of doing.

                                                      I'll try everything and see what works =) Thanks for the tips and the entertainment people! Hahaha

                                                      1. r
                                                        Richie_Chef Jul 2, 2011 06:21 PM

                                                        After reading most of the posts, I tried to refill my McCormick peppercorn grinder. It was easier than I thought. I took a small flat screwdriver from my computer toolkit and prised all around the base of the cap. Try pushing the screwdriver all the way in and lifting up each time and rotate. Bingo the cap gradually came off in 30 seconds. I refilled it with Badia peppercorns and it snapped right back on. This is the newest grinder as the expiry date is 04/2014. I didnt notice any glue sticking the cap to the glass to prevent refilling.

                                                        I must say the cap is attached really tightly to the bottle. I almost busted my finger before using the screwdriver. Concerning comments about the plastic leeching over time into the pepper or salt grinder - the plastic grinder will probably get dull before this happens. Also the McCormick grinder is made with high quality plastics and glass. I guess some people are still afraid of using a microwave or cellphone. We actually inhale more toxic fumes from cars and trucks on a daily basis without realizing it.

                                                        Grinder works great again - Hooray!

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: Richie_Chef
                                                          John E. Jul 2, 2011 09:53 PM

                                                          Since the Ikea spice grinder is now a dollar cheaper than it used to be (now $6) and one twist of it is equal to about three twists of the McCormick disposable peppermill and the Ikea holds about three times as many peppercorns as the disposable one, I would use the Ikea and not buy the McCormick since it is also an expensive way to buy peppercorns.

                                                          1. re: John E.
                                                            r
                                                            Richie_Chef Jul 4, 2011 09:36 AM

                                                            well i didnt buy buy the mccormick bottle to get the grinder. I already had it in the cupboard. i am just offering a solution to the question asked. This can come in handy in case of an emergency and you need a grinder quickly as you dont have time to purchase one while you are in the middle of a dish.

                                                        2. e
                                                          ElaineV Aug 1, 2011 05:36 PM

                                                          I just used a small flat blade screwdriver like the hint said and pryed the top off of my McCormick grinder and VOILA, I'm in. I feel like a McCormick hacker. No more expensive NEW grinders. Huggs all around.

                                                          10 Replies
                                                          1. re: ElaineV
                                                            j
                                                            josephnl Aug 1, 2011 06:58 PM

                                                            Hope you enjoy eating plastic chips mixed in with your pepper.
                                                            Why not splurge and spend six bucks at IKEA and buy a ceramic mill that will outlast you?

                                                            1. re: josephnl
                                                              r
                                                              Richie_Chef Aug 1, 2011 07:05 PM

                                                              Sounds like someone who works for McCormick or Ikea

                                                              1. re: Richie_Chef
                                                                ironuser Jan 23, 2012 03:12 PM

                                                                That's what i was thinking. More like Ikea since It's been mentioned quite a bit

                                                                1. re: ironuser
                                                                  John E. Jan 23, 2012 05:28 PM

                                                                  Elaine's McCormick hack has likely run its course by now anyway. Those disposable grinders have plastic grinding mechanisms that will fail fairly quickly. I know from experience.

                                                                  1. re: John E.
                                                                    r
                                                                    Richie_Chef Jan 24, 2012 01:03 AM

                                                                    Who cares, just get a new one

                                                                    1. re: Richie_Chef
                                                                      John E. Jan 24, 2012 08:08 AM

                                                                      That's my point. I stopped buying the McCormick peppermills because regular peppermills are available for less than the cost of the McCormicks. I bought the Kuhn Rikon for $2 at Goodwill. I have several Peugeot peppermills for the same price.

                                                              2. re: josephnl
                                                                r
                                                                Richie_Chef Aug 1, 2011 07:19 PM

                                                                Okay I checked Amazon and even Ikea's website and the Ikea 365 grinder is not available for purchase online.
                                                                http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/pro...
                                                                For those of us who live outside of the US there are no Ikea Stores.

                                                                1. re: Richie_Chef
                                                                  j
                                                                  josephnl Aug 1, 2011 09:50 PM

                                                                  You're right. I just checked the IKEA site in the US and the 365 pepper mill seems to have dropped off the site. Nevertheless, I do think there are other very inexpensive ceramic pepper mill options that to me at least make more sense than trying to reuse a cheap plastic grinder such as those on McCormick jars.

                                                                  1. re: Richie_Chef
                                                                    John E. Jan 24, 2012 10:25 AM

                                                                    I didn't notice this post of yours until today. Ikea has over 250 stores in 25 different countries. I'm not sure if they all sell the spice grinder.

                                                                2. re: ElaineV
                                                                  n
                                                                  nhirsch Aug 1, 2011 08:11 PM

                                                                  Way to go, Elaine! Now your next project is to take a large economy-size toothpaste tube and hold it tight up against the top of an empty travel toothpaste tube (less or equal to 3 oz). Remove the tops and hold them together. then squeeze the big tube. VIOLA, a travel refill for a fraction of the cost. You have the flexibility of using your favorite toothpaste just the same as you have the flexibility of filling your McCormick grinder with whichever pepper or other spice you choose!

                                                                3. k
                                                                  kitchendoodles Nov 10, 2011 03:43 PM

                                                                  I dropped mine in a pot of water waiting for pasta!
                                                                  SIMPLE ONE..DONT TRY TO REMOVE THE ENTIRE TOP!! use a screw driver to remove the red part then the white part underneath, refill and snap the parts back in place..EASY AS 1-2-3

                                                                  1. n
                                                                    nhirsch Jan 24, 2012 08:31 AM

                                                                    I got a few more empty McCormick pepper mills and now am using them for Sea Salt. You can get some great sea salt and kosher salt that is a little too big for a normal salt shaker but put the otherwise large-sized salt in an empty McCormick mill and it works great!

                                                                    And another note is that the plastic parts don't corrode from the salt like the metal parts on the more expensive grinders.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: nhirsch
                                                                      j
                                                                      josephnl Jan 24, 2012 12:09 PM

                                                                      Neither do the ceramic mills corrode from salt, and they are by far my favorite choice.

                                                                      1. re: josephnl
                                                                        n
                                                                        nhirsch Jan 24, 2012 12:17 PM

                                                                        Yes of course I would prefer ceramic over metal in grinders and brake pads and many other applications.

                                                                    2. c
                                                                      ChrisMoschini Jul 21, 2012 09:49 PM

                                                                      I was able to get the top off of the TJs mill by simply unscrewing it with a tremendous amount of force, enough that I thought for sure I was going to break the plastic housing before getting the top off. It was surprisingly sturdy, however.

                                                                      To be clear, by "top" I mean the end pepper comes out of. You can see the threads inside it, and as mentioned here pepper grinds get stuck in it making it difficult to remove. Just twist hard counter-clockwise. Off it goes. No tools or crazy drills etc required.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: ChrisMoschini
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                                                                        Richie_Chef Jul 21, 2012 10:42 PM

                                                                        Practically no force is needed bro. Just read my post:

                                                                        After reading most of the posts, I tried to refill my McCormick peppercorn grinder. It was easier than I thought. I took a small flat screwdriver from my computer toolkit and prised all around the base of the cap. Try pushing the screwdriver all the way in and lifting up each time and rotate. Bingo the cap gradually came off in 30 seconds. I refilled it with Badia peppercorns and it snapped right back on. This is the newest grinder as the expiry date is 04/2014. I didnt notice any glue sticking the cap to the glass to prevent refilling.

                                                                        I must say the cap is attached really tightly to the bottle. I almost busted my finger before using the screwdriver. Concerning comments about the plastic leeching over time into the pepper or salt grinder - the plastic grinder will probably get dull before this happens. Also the McCormick grinder is made with high quality plastics and glass. I guess some people are still afraid of using a microwave or cellphone. We actually inhale more toxic fumes from cars and trucks on a daily basis without realizing it.

                                                                        Grinder works great again - Hooray!

                                                                        Permalink | Reply
                                                                        By Richie_Chef on Jul 2, 2011 06:21 PM

                                                                        1. re: Richie_Chef
                                                                          c
                                                                          ChrisMoschini Jul 21, 2012 11:01 PM

                                                                          This was the Trader Joes one, not McCormick. I'm sure force varies. No tools needed.

                                                                      2. d
                                                                        Dealhunter Oct 18, 2012 01:53 PM

                                                                        EASY WAY TO REFILL McCormick pepper grinder.
                                                                        Warm the black plastic grinder top a little with a hair dryer.
                                                                        This makes the plastic pliable enough that you can pull
                                                                        the black plastic grinder top off the glass bottle with your
                                                                        hands. To reattach push back on until it snaps over the
                                                                        glass bottle lip.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Dealhunter
                                                                          d
                                                                          danitza Jun 2, 2013 08:15 AM

                                                                          thank you so much, i warmed it up just a bit with the hot setting of my hair dryer and it came off like butter!!!!!!! yeeee!!!!!!

                                                                          1. re: danitza
                                                                            JenniferLopez Jun 2, 2013 08:41 AM

                                                                            THANK GOD. I bought Szechuan peppercorns at Whole Foods and they only had it in those disposable pepper mills. Wasn't sure how to get the peppercorns out.

                                                                        2. MrsJTW Jan 11, 2013 03:16 AM

                                                                          I remember having trouble maybe five years ago trying to open a Trader Joe's mill to refill & gave up. We bought a bottle of pink himalayan salt from there about a year ago. When it ran out I didn't have any trouble unscrewing it. I refilled it with some sea salt we had from World Market. I didn't think about the grinding mechanism being made of plastic & possibly getting in the food! I will have to watch that. I'm sure it's fine for now, but I eventually want to buy a nice salt grinder to match whatever new pepper mill I buy. Still in the decision making process. And just my two cents about McCormick-I don't buy anything of theirs any more.

                                                                          1. j
                                                                            jimmyvietmeier Dec 27, 2013 01:01 PM

                                                                            Hair dryer rotate bottle close to it for about 1 minute. Wear gloves, it comes right off! I actually thought I was the only crazy cheap person!

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