Wednesday, April 7, 2010

out of the stone age ...

We have just acquired  a new appliance (thanks to our partner in homesteading crimes, further referred to as PIHC) around the homestead. A brand spanking new  grain mill and boy will it make my life simpler as we have really been  in the dark ages when it came to grinding grains and  making flour.

Any one that tells you to pick up a rock and smash your grains into flour has obviously never done it or done it for long enough to  be able to make a few loaves of bread from it. It is not the easiest of tasks and  although I could do it if needed  it is not something I would  choose to do on a daily basis unless I just had to. Finding  a suitable rock to smash and grind onto is a task within itself unless you enjoy finely ground rock dust in your food as any I have tried to use have made finely ground rock dust interspersed with the  flour.

A mortar n pestle or mocajete is a wonderful tool for grinding and smashing. I love my mocajete but for things other than herbs and spices, again, it is a grueling task . Another issue with a mortar is that of space within the vessel itself.  Mine is a medium sized household one and one can only  grind about a half cup of corn for each  fill up, it is also messy because of the pieces n parts flying about.   For both the rock and mortar grinding methods, grinding enough corn (1 cup) would take me several hours.
 This old beast is small and convenient to use, it is also technically a meat grinder but it does grind grain too. It takes several rounds of passing the grain through the grinder  and then leaves you with a  large particle size grain. As you can see the hopper is also very tiny so little can be ground at once  and the handle is very hard to turn before the grains  are broke down some. Keeping it attached to  a base is difficult at best and  the same cup of corn took about 40 minutes to grind.
 Here is the new mill. It is the country living grain mill and  though I have not used it much yet it is wonderful to operate and use. I ground  about 5 pounds of barley the other day in about 10-15 minutes and felt like I was in heaven while doing it. The hopper on  it seems to be a decent size. In my trial grinding the other day I could fill a quart sized freezer bag with one fill of the hopper. Cranking is simple in comparison to the tiny corona I had  and  the grains don't fly all over  while grinding  (although the output area is a bit odd and flings stuff).

These babies are some pricey gadgets to have  but if you are a from scratch cook or you grow all your own grains, I can already say that they are worth the price. The time alone that this will save me will  have paid the purchase price in a year or so. Once I spend a bit more up close and personal time with  it I will write up an actual review with my thoughts on it in the mean time we are talking about hooking it up to a pulley system to make it bicycle powered for when we need to grind up larger amounts.

 Has anyone ever tried roasted barley as a coffee substitute? The other day I was grinding up the PIHC's  barley for his beer brewing and the aroma was heavenly and just like coffee. It was quite a nice  flavor and although I am sure it  could be cost prohibitive for most, it may at some point be a caffeine free viable option to try out as a long term replacement.

1 comment:

  1. OOOOOOOOOOOOOOhhhhh...It's PURDY!....and you've gone higher tech...kewl...