Reuse a "disposable" Spice Mill

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Introduction: Reuse a "disposable" Spice Mill

About: Virologist, Dremel owner, hardcore bike commuter

I've developed a taste for fresh ground pepper, but as someone on a low salary I don't want to buy an expensive pepper mill. Some spice companies sell peppercorns, sea salt grains, and dried spices etc. in neat little grinders, but you're not supposed to be able to refill them, which is a bit silly since you can buy bulk spices much cheaper from most supermarkets.

Step 1: Oops

My first attempt at getting the plastic grinder top off the glass container went badly. I tried to use a spoon to pry it off, wedging the end of the spoon into the lid and banging it on the table. It made some cracking noises, which I thought was glue. It turned out that I'd broken the rim of the glass bottle off.

Step 2: Soften the Plastic

Later when I had another empty pepper grinder, I decided to soften the plastic before prying it off more gently. I set my oven at 250F and put the grinder inside for about 10 minutes.

The room smelt like pepper =)

Step 3: Remove Lid and Refill

Pry off the top gently. REMEMBER: hot glass doesn't look hot!. Use a potholder.

Refill with peppercorns or whatever other spice you like. I don't know if maybe some others might be too hard for the plastic grinding surfaces to handle. You may have to experiment. Also, if you look at the size of the teeth (on the underside of the top) it can't handle very big objects.

Step 4: Replace the Top

Bang it lightly with your fist until it clicks. Enjoy fresh ground pepper.

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    109 Discussions

    0
    mattcintosh
    mattcintosh

    5 years ago on Introduction

    my problem is the grinders with the peppercorns are actually *cheaper* than just the peppercorns in a bottle. The weights were almost identical, but the grinder was about 50 cents less... go figure...

    0
    SueM126
    SueM126

    Reply 3 years ago

    I love the peppercorn medley but don't like that the bottle isn't refillable. It's wasteful to keep throwing thing in the landfill or recycle bins. I went on a Google search to find that this mix isn't exclusive to this brand, However, like you, I found the price of the item in bulk is more expensive. I love that this grinder has 3 settings and is easy to use, so I wrote the company asking them to change their ways.

    0
    Blissterful
    Blissterful

    Reply 6 weeks ago

    Good for you writing the company! I've been writing the companies who sell the fruits and veggies in cans that don't interlock to stack well and slide off each other on to the floor or on my feet! Think I got 2 companies to change or maybe it was a coincidence. (Who cares, it's fixed, right?)

    0
    xenobiologista
    xenobiologista

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Pricing totally depends on which part of the world you live in, which shop you buy your groceries at, and which brand you're looking at.

    At the time and place when I wrote this, this was the most economical option for me to get fresh ground pepper, and it seems to have been useful for a few other people too. If it doesn't work for you, feel free to ignore this.

    0
    mattcintosh
    mattcintosh

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    I just mentioned it because I had one I was able to take the lid off, but when I got to the store, I was frustrated that the ones with the lid were cheaper than the ones without. Same brand and everything.

    Its like they were punishing you for actually buying a real peppermill.

    1
    ThatC
    ThatC

    4 years ago

    Great tips here! I heated grinder container in microwave for about a minute, then held container in left hand using pot holder, then using my right hand, pried lid off with the tip of potato peeler as suggested below. No trip to Trader Joe's, no buying anything, just a minute (literally, no more than one minute) and the container to re-use!

    1
    marcus368
    marcus368

    Reply 6 weeks ago

    Perfect way, thanks :)
    900w microwave at 45 seconds, held container using towel, slight pull twist to lid and came straight off and in perfect condition

    0
    Blissterful
    Blissterful

    Reply 6 weeks ago

    Gosh, it's been 4 years! I've been saving my empty spice containers for reusing and wondered where this tip was? Ha! Thanks! And, let's grind away!

    0
    Jo-AnnS4
    Jo-AnnS4

    10 months ago

    This worked great!!! I reused a store bought McCormicks grinder and filled it with Rosemary. Saved me so much money. Thanks for the tip and instructions.

    0
    WilliamS496
    WilliamS496

    1 year ago

    What a great article, thanks! Worked perfectly!

    0
    treardon
    treardon

    2 years ago on Introduction

    The easiest way to remove the top is to use a hair dryer with the skinny end around the rim for 30-40 seconds to heat it up. Grab the top with a towel for grip and VOILA it comes off easy. No risk of oven fire!

    0
    richfiles
    richfiles

    3 years ago

    All it took was some hot water from the sink... Granted, my apartment has some HOT water, but all it took was just a few seconds of heating, once the water was at full hotness.

    0
    LiftAndLove
    LiftAndLove

    7 years ago on Introduction

    Kinda a dumb question, but can you put rice in there and use it to make flour?

    0
    xenobiologista
    xenobiologista

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Probably not because hand-cranked pepper mills usually spit out little chunks, not fine powder. You'd be better off using a blender. Any reason you can't find rice flour for sale?

    0
    mesagoat
    mesagoat

    Reply 3 years ago

    about that rice flour, as you said earlier xeno...

    "totally depends on which part of the world you live in, which shop you buy your groceries at, and which brand you're looking at."

    mos' o the "grocery" stores in the food deserts of this DisUnited States, are little more than repositories of toxic junk. something healthy, and non-gluten, like rice flour is beyond the scope of human comprehension for some of this store managers. blessing's to the food hackers, diyers and healthy thinkers out there.

    0
    LiftAndLove
    LiftAndLove

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I can, but me and my ex are starting a farmers market booth that sells baked goods, and I thought It'd be better if it was more 'hand made'. Plus from what I hear rice flour isn't as cheap as rice.

    0
    xenobiologista
    xenobiologista

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Yeah you DEFINITELY need a bigger mill if you're going to want enough stuff to make bread, and one that can grind finer. Try Googling "hand mill flour" or something.

    0
    LiftAndLove
    LiftAndLove

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Haha okay. But I have to make the mill, because since I'm not allowed to get a job yet. I'm looking around though.

    0
    LauraF139
    LauraF139

    3 years ago

    Thanks so much for this hack! I looked up the grinder after it was empty to figure out how to refill just to find it was designed to NOT be refillable! I was mad that the marketing tricked me into thinking I was buying something environmentally friendly but in reality it's worse than my regular shaker! Shame on Morton! Then I found your page and by softening the plastic, which I wouldn't have thought of, it worked like a charm! I had already bought the course grind salt by Morton which is right next to it on the grocery shelf, again tricking me into thinking it was refillable, so I was very happy! I'll be doing the same for the pepper! Yay

    image.jpg
    0
    CierraC1
    CierraC1

    Reply 3 years ago

    I have the Morton Pepper mill shown in your picture. Did you refill the one shown above?