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Apr 3, 2013 11:13 PM

How do I solve this pepper mill problem?

The mill, after a period of use, contains peppercorns, peppercorn pieces and ground peppercorns, all mixed near the grinding mechanism. Hence, what is dispensed after the mill has been used for some time after its initial loading is not freshly ground pepper but a mixture of freshly ground pepper and pepper ground at some earlier time. Overall pungency drops precipitously from that glorious initial grind.

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  1. Get a new peppermill?

    I use a Unicorn Magnum Plus 9" pepper mill and love it.

    I like your screen name by the way.

    6 Replies
    1. re: 1POINT21GW

      I, too, have a unicorn, not the Magnum. It is by far the best pepper grinder I've had in 47 years of cooking!!

      1. re: 1POINT21GW

        I know Cook's Illustrated likes the Magnum. I've never seen a peppermill that could solve the "partially ground leftovers" problem. Even overnight is enough to seriously deteriorate the flavor of those leftovers.

        1. re: aynrandgirl

          I believe you're making this out to be more of a problem than it really is. I bet if you made some food on which you like your fresh ground pepper, say a hamburger, and somebody had you do a blind taste test, one with the leftover grinds mixed with uncracked corns and another with only uncracked peppercorns, you would unlikely be able to tell the difference.

          1. re: aynrandgirl

            Ah, this is just like the espresso grinder conundrum! The way I see it, you have three choices:

            1) Clear the old grindings into the trash just before the meal,
            2) Load only enough peppercorns to be consumed with the meal,
            3) Grind more pepper to overcome the weak old grinds.


            1. re: Eiron

              Hi, Eiron:

              There is a fourth, unspeakable choice:

              4. Pass the mill to your least-favored guest for the "old" pepper to be cleared. JK!

              Seriously, does anyone have a freshness or pungency problem with the first few turns of a mill that is already in daily use? Would anyone ask a resto server to clear the mill, on the chance that it'd be the first turn of the night? IMO this is a solution in search of a problem.


              1. re: kaleokahu


                I like Option #4! :-)

                I agree, it seems like one of those, "I never would've considered it" issues. But, the OP asked the question, & we're here to offer solutions....

                And yes, as a server, if a customer would've asked me to 'clear' the peppermill, I would've thought, "Are you kidding me?? Aren't you glad that we even HAVE a peppermill for you??"


        2. Throw the pepper mill. Use a small electric spice/coffee grinder.

            1. re: jaykayen

              jayk has a good idea, I never fill mine full, I occasionally give it a vigorous shake over the sink and a good grind to dislodge those bits and sometimes open it up completely for a water-less wipe-down. if you can't dissemble it, consider reserving the intact corns and put the vacuum cleaner to it.

              best bet is to just not put more in than you'll use in a few weeks.

            2. I'd suggest replacing the pepper mill. The one I have grinds the peppercorns down to the very last grind. It's battery operated with a light at the the bottom shining on where the grinds are falling. And it's adjustable for the the desired grind coarseness. I bought a pair of them for about $20 on eBay about 6 years ago and gave the 2nd one to my daughter.

              1. I run some uncooked rice through the grinder until it runs empty. It seems to clean and restore the burrs. I do it about twice a year, and don't notice many problems.

                1 Reply
                1. re: PesachBenSchlomo

                  That is how I clean my coffee grinder. Never thought to do it in my pepper mill. Thanks!