How to Build an Herb Grinder

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Home growing of fresh herbs is a highly satisfying activity for both chef and gardener alike. Though fresh herbs are best, storing home-dried herbs is a great way to make the most of your gardening efforts. However, some home-dried herbs and flowers require a little more than hand crushing to be usable. For cases like these, this homemade herb grinder can be built with household materials and packs some powerful grinding power.

Things You'll Need

  • Round metal, two-piece candy canister (Altoids or European pastilles)
  • Paperboard
  • Scissors
  • Clear tape
  • Plastic wrap
  • Permanent marker
  • Thumbtacks (flat-head kind)
  • Hot glue gun
  • Empty the candy canister, wash it and dry thoroughly.

  • Separate the top and bottom half of the canister.

  • Place one of the container halves mouth-down on a piece of paper board and trace it with your marker. Cut out this circle and place it in the base of one of the canister halves. Trim if necessary (it's okay if it ends up a little small).

  • Mark a pattern of dots inside the circle you've just cut. This will mark the future location of the thumb tacks and should be spread evenly over the surface of the circle.

  • Cover the paperboard circle with a sheet of plastic wrap (use clear tape to secure it). Trace the outline of the circle in permanent marker, then make a new pattern of dots on the plastic wrap, making sure that none of the new dots are in the same place as the dots on the paperboard. The purpose of this is to be able to position the thumbtacks so that the top and bottom can be twisted in opposite directions without the tacks getting stuck. One easy way to do this is to create two different patterns of concentric circles (as on a dartboard) that don't overlap.

  • Press thumbtacks into the pattern you've created in the paperboard circle.

  • Coat the back of the circle (the side with the flat heads of the thumbtacks) with a generous amount of hot glue and affix it to the inside of the appropriate half of the candy canister, teeth side out.

  • Trace and cut out a second paperboard circle for the other half of the candy canister.

  • Place thumb tacks in the second paperboard circle. This time, use the pattern you drew on plastic wrap as a guide for the placement of the tacks.

  • Glue the second circle into the second half of the candy canister. Let harden.

  • Place dried herbs in the bottom half of the canister. Attach the lid and twist to grind herbs.

Tips & Warnings

  • Since candy canisters vary in depth; you may find that yours needs some extra padding to keep the teeth from being too far away to be effective. Use an extra layer of paper board, glue or both.
  • Always use caution when working with thumbtacks and hot glue.

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