Pepper Mills

Mechanisms: Pepper can be cracked by metal, ceramic, and nylon mechanisms. Metals include stainless steel, and the preferred hardened steel which is actually harder than stainless steel.
Fineness: Adjust the grind for maximum flavor to suit its intended use. To make it finer, it works best when you free the mechanism of peppercorns.
Turn Clockwise: Most mills have mechanisms that angle in a downward spiral, channeling peppercorns into it, cracking the peppercorns into smaller chunks as they make their way down. So most mills must only be turned clockwise to prevent the cracked peppercorns from being returned into the chamber above. You’ll also get greater output if you only turn the handle or knob clockwise.
Intended Use: Never put salt in a pepper mill, unless the manufacturer's instructions state otherwise. Salt is highly corrosive, and it can easily corrode steel mechanisms. Never grind pink or green peppercorns without adding black or white peppercorns, to prevent clogging of the mechanism.
Peppercorn Size: Some peppercorns are too large to fit between the burrs. Tip: A mortar and pestle will give you the best results for cracking large peppercorns.
Freshness: Use pepper a lot and it won't go stale. If you don't use a lot, only keep a small amount in your pepper mill and check it frequently for freshness. Store fresh peppercorns in an airtight container, away from direct sunlight.
Old peppercorns: If pepper has been in the mill for a long time, it is possible that the peppercorns have become soft and possibly moldy, or that they have caked in the mechanism, preventing grinding. You may be able to take it apart for cleaning. Make sure you dry the mechanism and all parts well.
Cleaning: Occasionally empty the mill, and use a small tubular brush to clean out the inside. Regularly keep the mechanism clean using a small brush. You can usually wipe the body of the mill with a soft cloth that is moistened with rubbing alcohol and water, or with an appropriate window cleaner. Unless the instructions specifically allow it, never place your mill in water.
Warranties: Initial warranties cover manufacturing defects for the entire mill, however only the mechanism is generally covered by most warranties over time.
For best taste pairings, review our Guide to Types of Peppercorns