Manual, or hand, grinders have been used in kitchens for generations. While there are automatic grinders available today, many people prefer the simplicity of using a hand grinder. Grinders of this type can still be purchased with relative ease, and can serve a number of useful purposes. Here are a few examples.
Perhaps the most popular of all hand grinders today is the coffee grinder. Hand coffee grinders are usually equipped with a compartment where the coffee beans are placed. A crank makes it possible to grind the beans just before brewing the coffee. As the beans are ground, they are deposited in a small drawer located near the base of the grinder. The contents of the drawer are then placed into a coffeemaker or percolator. Many hand grinders come with more than one blade, making it possible to adjust the size of the grounds.
Along with coffee grinders, the grain grinder is also popular. Hand grinders of this type can be used to create flour from wheat and other grains. The grain grinder can also be utilized to grind kernels of corn to produce cornmeal that can be used to make various types of cornbreads.
While not seen as often as in the past, many kitchens still employ the use of a meat grinder. Often, these grinders are equipped with a clamp that makes it possible to securely position the device on the edge of a table or countertop. Pieces of meat are placed into the reservoir at the top of the grinder. The meat is slowly worked into the device with the use of a hand crank, eventually passing through blades that grind the meat into a texture that can be easily molded into patties. As the meat is processed, the finished product emerges from an opening in the side of the grinder and deposits into a bowl or other receptacle. Hand grinders of this type can be used with beef, pork, chicken or any type of venison with equal ease.
Perhaps the most simple of all hand grinders is the old-fashioned mortar and pestle. This type of grinder is especially helpful when attempting to grind foods into a fine powder. The mortar and pestle works very well when crushing dried herbs for use in soup, stews and casseroles. Some people also like to employ this type of grinder along with a coffee or grain grinder to achieve a finer texture than is possible with the other devices.
Kitchen grinders of all types can usually be purchased in kitchen boutiques, the home and kitchen sections of department stores, and in restaurant supply houses. Depending on the type of hand grinder you desire, the price may be very little. However, keep in mind that with fewer moving parts and no reliance on electricity, the grinder is likely to last for many years.