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Jul 26, 2009 08:30 AM

Long pepper how the *#&@! do you grind it?

Hi all,
Ever since i first bumped into it, I have had a fondness for the taste of long pepper (Piper longum) however grinding the stuff up into a useably powder/small chunks has been continually baffling me. With a mortar and pestle most of it flies out of the bowl and trying to grind it that way is literally killing my wrist and arm. duping it into a small electric coffe grinder running it for a few minutes and then running the result trogh a fine seive ( putting what doesn't go through away for the next time) works but the grinder immedately starts making the horrible noises and smells that tell you the job you doing is beyond it's strength and the motor is burning out plus i doesnt really give me much control over how much ground pepper it get since I have to fill the grinder (if i put one in, it just bounces around). the pepper is too hard for the regular pepper grinder to do anything with it (and if you dont whack the suff with a hammer the peppers are too big to fit in it) there's got to be an effecient way of doing this that wont result in a broken appliance or carpal tunnel syndrome. Any hints?

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  1. Try a small bowled food processor. They're tougher than a coffee grinder. Although I use a coffee grinder for nearly all my spices. Chop into 1/2" pieces or smaller before trying to grind.. Or if you're a masochist, use a box grater and then take the gratings for a coffee grinder spin...

    1. The bast way to "grind" it is to use a microplane zester, just treat it like nutmeg and you'll be good to go

      3 Replies
      1. re: nmo

        Thanks I try both of those. I just made an aaprt with the zester, and your right it does work (though holding the peppercorn in a matter that you are grinding it and not your fingers (it's big but nearly as big as a whole nutmeg) is a little tricky. I'm beginng to see how the stuff, tasty as it is, fell out of favor in the west once black pepper showed up on the market, the latters a lot easier to turn into seasoning form!

        1. re: jumpingmonk

          I will have to try the microplane, the ceramic pepper mill I got at Ikea does a nice job, but it is a pain to fill with peppercorns let alone the long pepper

          1. re: mmalmad

            How about the microplane made specifically for nutmeg, which holds the nutmeg/pepper safely for grating over the plane surface. Many kitchen stores stock these small, inexpensive aides.

      2. I bought a set of Turkish spice grinders that does the trick with harder spices. Its much sturdier than a normal pepper grinder, easy to refill and holds the spices really well. Use it for dried coriander and cumin for Indian cooking as well. They look like old fashioned coffee grinders with a lever at the top which you spin around, and have a wide squat body

        3 Replies
        1. re: waytob

          Love the Turkish spice grinders. Do you know a good on-line source for them?

          1. re: chowfamily

            Unfortunately no....I bought a whole load of them during my trip to Istanbul this year in April and now use them for all manner of things.
            I'm sure google would help in this though

            1. re: waytob

              Thanks for your reply, I suspected as much. I have seen them on-line but it sounds like buying a whole load of them on-site is the way to go.

              It's one more reason to travel to Turkey, but a good, not overpriced mail-order source would be wonderful if anyone comes across one.

        2. like all pepper - a thai mortar and pestle

          3 Replies
          1. re: thew

            There may be something to this! (I want one, I only have a molcajete that, like its cousin asphalt, drinks in the rain or any other liquid that touches it.)

            Another thought... possible to toast said long pepper until beautifully aromatic and more fragile - and then put it in the grinder?

            I have wanted to buy and try long pepper since I saw it recently at our local Surfa's cooks' supply place. But I made myself stop, since the last impromptu purchase I made there was Javanese long-tailed pepper... and I still have most of the box. (That's not a long pepper... it's the pepper used in clove cigarettes and it has a beautiful bergamot thing going.)

            1. re: Cinnamon

              I thought tailed pepper was another name for cubebs which are used culinarily.

              1. re: jumpingmonk

                I believe you're right. In any case, it smells gorgeous. I just haven't made a lot of things with it yet. It's tempting to just toast a little periodically for the scent.