Peppercorns are the dried berries of the pepper plant Piper nigrum, which originally grew in India. When crushed, peppercorns release a sharp, hot, spicy flavor that adds interest and zest to a wide range of dishes. Pepper is the world's most popular spice and has been called "the King of Spices." Coarsely ground peppercorns impart a fiery, biting taste. More finely ground peppercorns allow just a hint of flavor in dishes where subtlety is needed. "Grind creep" happens when a badly adjusted grinder produces ever more coarsely ground pepper. That's when you need to adjust the grinder screw.
Grasp the pepper grinder firmly in one hand and use the thumb and forefinger of the other hand to twist the beveled edge of the finial on the top of the grinder in a counterclockwise direction. Continue until the finial is loose enough to be lifted and removed from its retaining screw, leaving the cap of the grinder below loose.
Lift the cap of the grinder over the screw to reveal the hollow inside the instrument.
Fill the hollow inside the grinder with peppercorns.
Replace the cap on the grinder.
Put the finial back onto its retaining screw by gripping the finial between thumb and forefinger and twisting it in a clockwise direction. Only give the finial one or two twists, so that it is just engaged with the screw, but not tight against the cap of the grinder. This will allow you to explore the full range of grain sizes that the grinder can produce.
Hold the grinder over a sheet of kitchen paper and twist the cap once or twice clockwise. You will see grains of pepper drop onto the paper. They are coarsely ground, the largest size of pepper grains that your grinder can produce.
Grip the finial on top of the grinder between thumb and forefinger. Tighten the finial by giving it one clockwise turn.
Grind some more pepper onto the kitchen paper by turning the cap of the grinder clockwise. You will see finer grains of pepper than you first produced.
Continue tightening the finial by one clockwise turn and then testing the grinder to see how fine the grains of pepper are that it produces. When the finial cannot be tightened any further, your grinder will produce the finest grains of pepper possible.
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