How to Measure Peppers Straight From the Grinder
Until recently, I never measured freshly ground peppers. If a recipe called for half a teaspoon, I would just chop the berries over the platter until I thought I had “enough” based just on my nose and how spicy I felt that day, because there was no elegant way measurements. this is a teaspoon from a meat grinder. But if you take the time to measure just one time, you can dispense the amount required for any recipe without a measuring spoon.
Part of the Skillet The Grown-Up Kitchen series , designed to answer your most basic cooking questions and fill in any gaps that may be missing from your home chef education.
For the initial, somewhat tedious measuring process, you will need a scale, a measuring spoon, and a couple of molds. The more accurate your scale, the more accurate your future pepper measurements will be, but don’t go crazy; ten or so extra milligrams of pepper is not the end of the world.
When you have everything you need, grind a good amount of pepper in one of the molds. Place another mold on the scale, then take half a teaspoon of pepper from your supply, weigh and record the mass. Your weight will vary depending on the fineness of your grinder, but should be around a gram. (You can also start by assuming half a teaspoon of pepper is about a gram and skip this initial step, but I don’t know how precise you want to be in the kitchen.)
Then empty one of the molds, place it back on the scale and grind more peppers into it, counting how many revolutions you make on the grinder. When you’ve got a gram (or whatever mass you’ve written down), stop counting and write down that number. Then make a small mark that says “1/2 teaspoon = X turns,” where X is the number of turns, and glue it either inside the spice cabinet door or onto the grinder itself. (For me, “X” was 35.)
The next time you need to measure fresh peppers, simply count the number of grinds, zooming in or out as needed. Of course, this method depends on the sequence in which you operate the grinder, but it is definitely better than guessing or chopping up a bunch of peppers and taking them out of the mold each time.