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Nutmeg grinder

FallsChurch2 Feb 1, 2013 10:50 AM

I love freshly grated nutmeg and use if often. What I don't love is each time having to fish a nut out of the jar, then hunt around for where did I put that fine grater, then scrape my fingernails or knuckles on the teeth of said metal grater. So, I thought: why not put nutmeg pieces in a pepper/salt grinder and get a lot of fine grate with a few quick twists, sans bloody knuckles? It hasn't worked out. No matter how I adjust the grind (fine to medium to coarse), it takes forever to get even a quarter teaspoon ground up, leading me to return to the painful method. I am using a quality grinder. Any suggestions out there?

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  1. d
    dkenworthy RE: FallsChurch2 Feb 1, 2013 11:58 AM

    Many years ago I purchased this little tool (I hope the picture uploads). I think it is made by Taylor. Although it isn't perfect, it is good. It makes more tiny shaves than "ground" flecks. I think a good kitchen store would have one, or you could find it on-line.

    16 Replies
    1. re: dkenworthy
      FallsChurch2 RE: dkenworthy Feb 1, 2013 12:19 PM

      So, with this contraption you get shavings or nutmeg, not a fine grind? How do you use the shavings? Won't it taste too strong in food?

      1. re: FallsChurch2
        sueatmo RE: FallsChurch2 Feb 1, 2013 01:39 PM

        You will ground nutmeg. I don't know whether to call it fine or medium.

        1. re: FallsChurch2
          dkenworthy RE: FallsChurch2 Feb 1, 2013 02:04 PM

          The shavings are fine enough that it isn't a problem. It just looks "different" than grated or ground nutmeg.

        2. re: dkenworthy
          pretzal RE: dkenworthy Feb 1, 2013 12:33 PM

          x2. I have this one and use it daily (I got mine from Williams-Sonoma) It's not too strong at all

          1. re: pretzal
            FallsChurch2 RE: pretzal Feb 1, 2013 12:48 PM

            OK, sold. I have a gift card from WS, so at last I'll have something to use it on. Thanks all for your comments.

            1. re: pretzal
              roxlet RE: pretzal Feb 5, 2013 11:01 AM

              I got this for Christmas, also from Williams-Sonoma. It is so much better than that thing I was always scraping my knuckles on!

            2. re: dkenworthy
              liu RE: dkenworthy Feb 1, 2013 12:50 PM

              I have this same grinder; I think it is made by William Bounds. However, mine keeps popping apart at the seam. I have replaced it a couple of times and still it comes apart while grinding.


              I, too, would love to see a better grinder for nutmeg.

              1. re: dkenworthy
                sueatmo RE: dkenworthy Feb 1, 2013 01:38 PM

                I have this but I haven't found it to be trouble free. Its a good concept though.

                1. re: sueatmo
                  liu RE: sueatmo Feb 1, 2013 01:42 PM

                  sueatmo, are you referring to the William Bounds nutmeg grinder?

                  If so, are you having the same separation problems that I am having with the top popping off at the seam?

                  1. re: liu
                    sueatmo RE: liu Feb 1, 2013 03:14 PM

                    grinder in dkenworthy's post upthread. I have this. The top pops off if the nutmegs aren't a minimum size, and the nutmeg in the center grinding position is often out of position. It requires a lot if fiddling to get it to work, in my experience.

                    1. re: sueatmo
                      liu RE: sueatmo Feb 1, 2013 03:42 PM

                      Oh, YES, sueatmo! I had forgotten about that annoying but necessary "fiddling" with the center nutmeg. This tool grinds one face of the nutmeg flat, but then it stops working because there is no rough surface to shave.

                      This William Bounds nutmeg grinder is a great tool in theory, but it is poorly designed. I do wish someone would improve upon it.

                      1. re: liu
                        sueatmo RE: liu Feb 3, 2013 07:29 PM

                        You described the problem much better than I. That's what it does. I just use a regular nutmeg grinder now.

                2. re: dkenworthy
                  breadchick RE: dkenworthy Feb 1, 2013 03:29 PM

                  I had this, and ended up giving it to my mother. I went back to the fine microplane. It's so much easier.

                  1. re: breadchick
                    c oliver RE: breadchick Feb 5, 2013 11:41 AM

                    I use my microplane grater also. Easy peasy. In addition, I don't like single purpose doodads.

                    1. re: c oliver
                      TraderJoe RE: c oliver Feb 7, 2013 05:07 PM

                      "I don't like single purpose doodads"

                      +1! Another vote for the mighty microplane.

                      1. re: TraderJoe
                        c oliver RE: TraderJoe Feb 7, 2013 05:36 PM

                        We do house exchanges and it's one of the items I always carry with me.

                3. g
                  gourmanda RE: FallsChurch2 Feb 1, 2013 12:08 PM

                  I have one of those half-cylinder type graters. It's small (maybe 5" tall) and has a lidded opening that holds the nutmeg when not in use. It sits in the spice cabinet and grates a nutmeg easily, no bloody knuckles required.

                  Here is an example


                  12 Replies
                  1. re: gourmanda
                    FallsChurch2 RE: gourmanda Feb 1, 2013 12:21 PM

                    It's cute! But it resembles my metal grater (except mine is flat with a handle). And you don't scrape your knuckles bloody with this thing?

                    1. re: FallsChurch2
                      sweetfern RE: FallsChurch2 Feb 1, 2013 12:47 PM

                      I've scraped knuckles on this baby.


                      1. re: FallsChurch2
                        gourmanda RE: FallsChurch2 Feb 1, 2013 01:10 PM

                        Nope, no scraping that I can ever recall. And it's inexpensive and doesn't take up much space.

                        1. re: gourmanda
                          BobB RE: gourmanda Oct 15, 2013 11:46 AM

                          I have the same kind and have never had a problem with scraping my fingers.

                      2. re: gourmanda
                        ratgirlagogo RE: gourmanda Feb 1, 2013 12:29 PM

                        This is the kind we have too, used mostly by Mr. Rat for eggnog and other cocktails. It's very handy to have the little compartment for the partially used nutmeg and neither of us have ever injured ourselves with it.

                        1. re: gourmanda
                          mike0989 RE: gourmanda Feb 5, 2013 11:56 AM

                          Hey, I've been looking for one of these!!! thanks. I normally use a micro palne, but I like the idea of storing the nutmeg with the grater.

                          I have the Willam - Bounds mentioned above, but I'm not wild about it. The problem I have, is after the seed gets down a bit, the grater no longer wants to grip it. You crank and crank and nothing comes out unless you fiddle with how the seed is postioned. More effort than it's worth and I end up taking the seed out and grabing the micro plane.

                          1. re: mike0989
                            liu RE: mike0989 Feb 5, 2013 12:06 PM

                            Exactly, mike0989...you have described the problem well!
                            And this is why our William Bounds nutmeg grinder sits lonely on the shelf.

                            1. re: mike0989
                              paulj RE: mike0989 Feb 5, 2013 12:39 PM

                              But smaller the bit, more likely the micro plane will plane part of your finger. Even with my old fashioned grater (Made in W. Germany), I toss the bits that are too small to hold without harming myself.

                              1. re: paulj
                                Sooeygun RE: paulj Feb 6, 2013 05:51 AM

                                I throw the bits into milk when heating it for bechamel, or into the stock pot.

                            2. re: gourmanda
                              pdxgastro RE: gourmanda Feb 9, 2013 12:40 AM

                              I have one. But I have to put a rubber band around the lid that holds the whole nutmeg.

                              1. re: gourmanda
                                mudcat RE: gourmanda Oct 15, 2013 03:04 PM

                                I have an almost identical one that my Mother-in-law gave me. I'm sure its older than me (78) and works fine.

                                1. re: gourmanda
                                  greygarious RE: gourmanda Oct 17, 2013 04:20 PM

                                  I have that one, too. It hangs from a tiny nail on the inside of the upper cabinet that holds the spice carousel, so it NEVER gets lost. I keep lots of small kitchen tools, and charts, on the insides of cabinet doors, useful space that many folks never think of utilizing.

                                2. n
                                  nemo RE: FallsChurch2 Feb 1, 2013 12:18 PM

                                  I bet you could also use a microplane. I like finely grated nutmeg, so I don't mind the little grater like gourmanda references.

                                  9 Replies
                                  1. re: nemo
                                    sweetfern RE: nemo Feb 1, 2013 12:51 PM

                                    I smash my nutmeg with a hammer, put it in my knife-like
                                    coffee grinder and voila! I also do this with cinnamon sticks.


                                    1. re: sweetfern
                                      FallsChurch2 RE: sweetfern Feb 1, 2013 12:55 PM

                                      And the coffee grinder yields a fine-powder nutmeg grind? (I'm still not convinced about those shavings) Which coffee grinder to you use?

                                      1. re: FallsChurch2
                                        sweetfern RE: FallsChurch2 Feb 1, 2013 01:29 PM

                                        Yes. I keep the nutmeg powder in a little jar. I also use nutmeg to flavor cocoa, milk/rum punch. Krups fast touch grinder.


                                    2. re: nemo
                                      grampart RE: nemo Feb 1, 2013 12:54 PM

                                      +1 on the microplane!

                                      1. re: nemo
                                        scubadoo97 RE: nemo Feb 1, 2013 02:55 PM

                                        I use a microplane. Usually nutmeg is needed in small quantities and the microplane works great

                                        1. re: nemo
                                          monkeyrotica RE: nemo Feb 5, 2013 05:42 AM

                                          + a billion on the microplane. I have two because I was constantly using it and it was always being washed, so now I have a backup. Perfect for nutmeg, parmesian, romano, or any old dried up cheese I need to shred.

                                          1. re: monkeyrotica
                                            grampart RE: monkeyrotica Feb 5, 2013 05:46 AM

                                            Also, can't be beat for zesting citrus.

                                          2. re: nemo
                                            sr44 RE: nemo Feb 5, 2013 05:53 AM

                                            Yes, you can use a microplane until the piece of nutmeg is too small. I also put small pieces in a manual coffee grinder that I reserve for spices.

                                            1. re: sr44
                                              chefj RE: sr44 Feb 5, 2013 12:12 PM

                                              Or just use a Knife.

                                          3. SWISSAIRE RE: FallsChurch2 Feb 1, 2013 02:19 PM

                                            We use fresh grated Nutmeg or Muskat is many of our meals at home.

                                            This kitchen tool is called a Muskatreibe. I find it very useful, and easier to handle than a long rasp.

                                            It holds a few nutmeg nuts inside: You just flip the black lid, pop one out, rasp fresh grated nutmeg, and pop the remainder back inside.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: SWISSAIRE
                                              PesachBenSchlomo RE: SWISSAIRE Feb 1, 2013 03:15 PM

                                              I find a bamboo ginger-grater works well on nutmeg, and cleans up easily.

                                            2. h
                                              HillJ RE: FallsChurch2 Feb 2, 2013 10:22 AM

                                              I use a good deal of nutmeg and when using a microplane to grate the nut I wear a ladies garden glove. The glove is fabric and fits snug. I can hand grate the nut down to a nub without any chance of pain.

                                              When I use the nutmeg mill I break up the nut in a bowl first because I find the mill does a better job using the whole nut in pieces than left whole.Smaller kitchen hammer or nut cracker works to cut the nutmeg in half. I point the nut flatside up in the mill.

                                              But, another use for a nutmeg mill or pepper grinder is to grind whole cloves. They both do an outstanding job of grinding whole cloves in small batches. I detach the clove head from the stem and grind just the head. The stems I mill with coffee beans in my coffee grinder.

                                              1. m
                                                Mother of four RE: FallsChurch2 Feb 2, 2013 03:03 PM

                                                Just use a microplane. I threw my nutmeg grinder away a long time ago. Works like a charm and one less thing to have to store.

                                                1. John E. RE: FallsChurch2 Feb 4, 2013 05:46 PM

                                                  We have an old wooden nutmeg grinder. It holds a single nut using a spring to keep it pressed against a blade. The grind is quite fine. It was a thrift shop purchase and had no identifying marks. They are out there. It works much easier than a microplane. It sits on the shelf in the cupboard until needed and is easy to reload. No washing either.

                                                  13 Replies
                                                  1. re: John E.
                                                    liu RE: John E. Feb 4, 2013 05:59 PM

                                                    I'm envious...I want one!

                                                    1. re: liu
                                                      John E. RE: liu Feb 4, 2013 09:24 PM

                                                      The one we have is similar to this one...


                                                      1. re: John E.
                                                        liu RE: John E. Feb 4, 2013 09:37 PM

                                                        THANKS for finding this one and for the link, John E.
                                                        It looks quite nice.

                                                        I will give it some serious consideration as I am anxious to replace the William Bounds one that we have that is pretty useless.

                                                        1. re: John E.
                                                          sr44 RE: John E. Feb 5, 2013 05:55 AM

                                                          And I see there is a microplane nutmeg grater among the other options.

                                                      2. re: John E.
                                                        HillJ RE: John E. Feb 4, 2013 05:59 PM

                                                        The first nutmeg grinder I owned was a wooden spring loaded, single nut grinder. Eventually the spring gave out. It also got me thinking that a single use mill wasn't a great bargain any longer. At least with a microplane you can grate a variety of foods (chocolate, zest, nuts, spices) with ease; it's a multitasker.

                                                        1. re: HillJ
                                                          John E. RE: HillJ Feb 4, 2013 09:26 PM

                                                          You are right, except that for a buck at a thrift store, the nutmeg mill is still working fine. If it breaks, I doubt if it would get replaced. (Especially with the few number of times per year it gets used.) I think the most use the thing gets is around Christmas time when grinding a bit of nutmeg into eggnog.

                                                          1. re: John E.
                                                            HillJ RE: John E. Feb 4, 2013 09:41 PM

                                                            But you're recommending a brand-new one for nearly $30.00 (I paid $25.00 when I bought it). The spring gave out with my constant use in about a year. The fine grate microplane was $14.00 with non-slip rubber handle (comfy on the hand too) and will go strong, stay sharp for decades.

                                                            1. re: HillJ
                                                              John E. RE: HillJ Feb 4, 2013 09:54 PM

                                                              I posted the link because liu indicated a desire for one similar to what we have. I certainly would not buy a nutmeg mill for $30. I got it for a buck. Our microplaner was also a buck at a thrift store. Frankly, I could get by without either of them.

                                                              1. re: John E.
                                                                liu RE: John E. Feb 4, 2013 10:17 PM

                                                                Freshly ground nutmeg is far superior to the powdery stuff that is available on the shelf in the local market. If such a grinder at home is effective AND EASY, we will use it often. Good tools can make a great difference.

                                                                1. re: liu
                                                                  John E. RE: liu Feb 4, 2013 10:35 PM

                                                                  I agree. Before we got the nutmeg mill we used a whole nutmeg on a grater.

                                                                2. re: John E.
                                                                  HillJ RE: John E. Feb 5, 2013 05:38 AM

                                                                  Okay, recommending a thrift shop for such bargains would have seemed more in line with your experience. I was surprised you shared the link when you've had such good fortune locating these items at bargain prices.

                                                                  Even brand-new mills and microplanes run the gamut price wise.

                                                                  1. re: HillJ
                                                                    John E. RE: HillJ Feb 5, 2013 08:12 AM

                                                                    I did not recommend a thrift shop for a nutmeg grater because they are apparently a rare item. So are the microplanes. I have only ever seen one of each in thrift stores and bought them both. I have pretty much kicked my thrift store habit. Too many visits without any decent purchases. I think I started going before it became a 'thing'. Now there are many independent thrift stores out there without much turnover of merchandise.

                                                                    1. re: John E.
                                                                      HillJ RE: John E. Feb 5, 2013 01:57 PM

                                                                      Very true hit or miss experience myself. Last good buy was a dutch oven from Goodwill. The hunt can be fun tho.

                                                        2. f
                                                          Florida Hound RE: FallsChurch2 Feb 4, 2013 06:04 PM

                                                          I am new to all this, but I just bought a jar of whole nutmegs over the weekend. Before I get too fancy, can I use a flat cheese grater kind of kitchen tool? I am not enough of a gourmet to know the difference between the old cheese grater and a "microplane."

                                                          5 Replies
                                                          1. re: Florida Hound
                                                            HillJ RE: Florida Hound Feb 4, 2013 07:04 PM

                                                            Florida, a microplane has a finer grind. A cheese grater has much larger wholes.

                                                            1. re: Florida Hound
                                                              paulj RE: Florida Hound Feb 4, 2013 11:12 PM

                                                              Some cheese graters have several sizes of holes. What you want for nutmeg is one that looks like a bunch of protruding bumps, almost as though someone had hammered a nail partway through the metal many times.

                                                              This style can also be used for hard cheese.

                                                              1. re: Florida Hound
                                                                sr44 RE: Florida Hound Feb 5, 2013 11:12 AM

                                                                A microplane is a repurposed wood rasp. Because it's extremely sharp, it often works better than the grater that belonged to your mother or grandmother.

                                                                1. re: Florida Hound
                                                                  chefj RE: Florida Hound Feb 5, 2013 12:15 PM

                                                                  Here is a picture of a microplane/ rasp

                                                                  1. re: Florida Hound
                                                                    gourmanda RE: Florida Hound Feb 5, 2013 12:44 PM

                                                                    Microplane is the company that makes several styles of easy to use hand-held graters. Their first was, I believe, rasp style but now they come in several styles--fine, coarse, ribbon.... The finer graters would be best for nutmeg and also good for fruit zest.

                                                                  2. f
                                                                    Florida Hound RE: FallsChurch2 Feb 9, 2013 08:57 AM

                                                                    You guys are scaring me... several posters, from the OP on down, with stories of giving blood to get a bit of nutmeg.
                                                                    OK, but I will be joining this crew, going from occasional use of "ground nutmeg" from the spice jar, to grating my own.

                                                                    Here's my plan of action: On the recommendations here, I will be on the hunt for a plane grater.
                                                                    For the actual grating though, I expect to hold the nutmeg nut with vice grips or plain old pliers. Wouldn't a "handle" of this sort save my knuckles and blood?

                                                                    (Side note: Only on Chowhounds could you get upwards of 60 posts on the topic of grating nutmeg. And since I am a newbie to the fresh nutmeg thing, I do appreciate all the stories and advice.)

                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Florida Hound
                                                                      paulj RE: Florida Hound Feb 9, 2013 09:18 AM

                                                                      Right now I have a knuckle scab from trying to grate a small chunk of cheese (parma or something like that) that's been languishing (or should I say hardening) in the fridge for months. A microplane can be dangerous with any hard, small, food.

                                                                      A nice thing about the half moon cross section of the traditional nutmeg grater is that it keeps the object (I use mine for nutmeg and whole dried ginger) centered. With the narrow flat rasp type of microplane, I most often draw blood when the food item slips off center.

                                                                      1. re: Florida Hound
                                                                        HillJ RE: Florida Hound Feb 9, 2013 09:50 AM

                                                                        As silly as it may appear, a clean garden glove protects the knuckles beautifully. I made the recommendation upthread. No blood, no pain, no fear. Protect your hand/fingers.

                                                                        1. re: Florida Hound
                                                                          liu RE: Florida Hound Feb 10, 2013 05:07 PM

                                                                          Hi, Florida Hound!

                                                                          Re: " Only on Chowhounds could you get upwards of 60 posts on the topic of grating nutmeg."

                                                                          Like you, I'm always amazed at the multitude of responses for "small" cookware items that once seemed rather insignificant but in Chowville become huge areas of discussion! Witness, for example, how many Hounds have been discussing pepper grinders. I never knew that a pepper mill or a nutmeg grinder had so many features...as only a true Hound could recognize and discuss!

                                                                          1. re: liu
                                                                            Florida Hound RE: liu Feb 10, 2013 06:41 PM

                                                                            I am a loyal participant in many of these conversations throughout the Chowhound boards, be they fascinating to our chosen few, or just a bit of trivial pursuit. By the way, I have a likely source for purchasing a microplane grater- never even heard of the thing a month ago. I will be the one to start the new "eggnog" thread in mid-December, when I can extol the virtues of freshly grated nutmeg.

                                                                            1. re: Florida Hound
                                                                              liu RE: Florida Hound Feb 10, 2013 07:24 PM

                                                                              Florida Hound, I, too, love these discussions and have been known to contribute my little bits and pieces.

                                                                              ...and the passionate discussion continues...

                                                                        2. Allstonian RE: FallsChurch2 Feb 13, 2013 08:20 AM

                                                                          Microplane makes a nutmeg grater with an attached box - the grated nutmeg goes in there, and you can also store the whole nutmeg inside when not in use. Mine is an older model a bit different from this, and I *love* it, although even a Microplane gets dull after 10+ years...

                                                                          1. SWISSAIRE RE: FallsChurch2 Feb 13, 2013 04:20 PM

                                                                            The concern on using a microplane or rasp seems out of place as a kitchen tool, as there are sharp items in any Kitchen, hopefully including the cook.

                                                                            Gven the use and storage or knives, meat cleavers, a mandoline, processor blades, meat tenderizers, skewers, and even thermometers, the cook or chef requires training, caution, and a little respect when such tools are used.

                                                                            Certain " celebrity " chefs do an excellent job in speeding around a restaurant kitchen, misleading the home cook that hurrying to chop onions or carrots at warp-speed is the true marque of an cooking expert, colourful profanities included.

                                                                            My advice is to slow down, enjoy the cooking experience, and don't get cut.

                                                                            I do not recall ever rasping my knuckles while grating. It is as though one is buttering a croissant or roll: You slice into the bread to a point by training and experience, or you slice your palm. Same with grating muskat or nutmeg, as it comes with training and experience.

                                                                            A few more photos of the small grater I use. Non mechanical, like the microplane, rubber-silicone one hand grip, no cuts, pocket sized, and fresh grated everytime, as needed.

                                                                            1. f
                                                                              Florida Hound RE: FallsChurch2 Oct 13, 2013 03:46 PM

                                                                              I thought I was going to jump in with a Nutmeg grater update when I tried the microplane for the first time, on some good Christmas eggnog. But my wife beat me to it, (2 months early)when she tried our new microplane on some whole nutmeg, to make our first apple pie of the season. The pie itself is in the oven at this moment, but my wife joyfully asked me to take a whiff of some fresh nutmeg in a measuring spoon during the assembly process. MMMM- sure doesn't even smell like jar nutmeg. Really nice aroma. And she did not skin her knuckles on the grater.
                                                                              So, this evening I'll dig in to some wonderful pie, and a couple of months from now, come back with the newbie's report of freshly grated nutmeg in homemade eggnog.
                                                                              Thanks to everyone who encouraged us to get the grater.

                                                                              1. girloftheworld RE: FallsChurch2 Oct 15, 2013 06:56 PM

                                                                                this may sound weird but I have one that is like a little music box it is silver and looks like an easter egg in the middle is the grater partin the top is a key like thing.... you put the nutmeg in the the egg and turn the key and the grinds are in the bottom of the egg

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: girloftheworld
                                                                                  Florida Hound RE: girloftheworld Oct 16, 2013 05:47 PM

                                                                                  "...like a little music box..." Does it actually play any music? I thought humming "The Sound of Music" in my wife's ear as she grated the nutmeg for our apple pie was very effective.

                                                                                  1. re: Florida Hound
                                                                                    girloftheworld RE: Florida Hound Oct 17, 2013 03:03 PM

                                                                                    lol No it doesnt really play music but that would be cool.

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