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May 18, 2008 04:47 PM

odd question about black pepper

i love black pepper

i use way more that most recipes call for

i usually grind it in a mortar and pestle.

now i know fresh ground is better than pre ground - but how quickly do the volatile oils dissipate? that is to say how far in advance can i grind it, and still have it be "fresh ground"? a minute? 5? 30? an hour?

any ideas?

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  1. i'm curious why you don't get a good quality mill and grind as needed? we have 2 william bounds mills,1 for pepper and 1 for sea salt.their mechanisms seem to hold up well and we use them a lot.although ours isn't made anymore,i think these may be the closest they have now.

    1 Reply
    1. re: davmar77

      I agree, I use a Peugot mill and it grinds as much as I can use on demand. We used a mortar and pestle for a little while under duress and I wasn't very satisfied with the cosistancy of the grind, besides the peppercorns kept leaping out of the mortar onto the floor to be trodden on by bare feet in the middle of the night.

    2. i have no problems w/ the mortar and pestle. its a big thai granite one which i brought several pestles for in bangkok, goes way faster than grinding, never have peppercorns fly out, have fine control of it from very coarse to very fine in a matter of seconds
      over all better, for me, than any pepper grinder i've ever used.

      i do just grind as needed, just curious if i grind enough for while i'm cooking, if i grind the pepper i'll use, e.g., on the salad at the same time, at what point would it have sat too long.

      intellectual curiosity

      1 Reply
      1. re: thew

        Sorry, didn't mean to miss the point, I was distracted thinking about stepping on those peppercorns. While I haven't done a careful survey of how long it remains optimal after grinding, you can easily count on that great flavor for the day if you keep it in a jar with a good tight lid.

      2. I don't notice any difference if it is ground with 4-6 hours of when it is used. We used to grind a days worth of pepper in the kitchen as it was almost impossible to do so during the rush of a dinner crowd. I have a 12" Peugeot mill at home, and grind as I need it.
        I personally think the use of whole fresh Tellicherry or Sarawak pepper, rather than generic Malabar is more noticeable than a few hours grinding time.