Black pepper is a spice that holds a special place in our kitchens, adding a distinctive flavour and aroma to our favourite dishes.
Whether it's sprinkled on top of a juicy Steak, added to a simmering Soup, or used in a spicy marinade, Black Pepper has become an essential ingredient in cuisines all over the world.
History of Black Pepper
Black Pepper, also known as the "King of Spices,"is believed to have originated in India, where it was cultivated and traded as early as 2000 BCE.
Black Pepper played a vital role in the spice trade routes that connected Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
It’s demand was so high that it became a valuable currency and even served as a tribute to Kings and Empires.
Due to its rarity and high demand, Black Pepper was seen as a luxury item, often reserved for the noble and wealthy.
Black Pepper was used as a form of payment during the Middle Ages. It was so highly valued that it was sometimes used as collateral or in place of money for trading.
When it comes to storing Black Pepper, it's crucial to keep it in ideal conditions to retain its flavour.
Whole peppercorns, should be stored in a cool, dark place, preferably in an airtight container.
Ground Black Pepper, on the other hand, is more sensitive to light and heat, so it's best to store it in a cool cupboard away from direct sunlight.
During ancient times, Black Pepper was not just a culinary tool, but it was also revered for its medicinal properties.
It was used to aid Digestion, treat Colds and Coughs, and even relieve Toothache.
Black Pepper contains a compound called piperine, which is responsible for its spicy and pungent taste.
Piperine has been found to have Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory properties, aiding in improving Digestion and reducing bloating.
Additionally, Black Pepper has been shown to enhance the absorption of certain nutrients, such as Curcumin in Turmeric, making it a great combination for maximising the benefits of other spices.
Black pepper is a popular ingredient in Spice blends.
Whether it's the traditional Garam Masala from India, the savoury Ras el Hanout from North Africa, or the zesty Cajun seasoning from the southern United States, Black Pepper adds a kick, depth and complexity to these Spice blends.
It’s versatility allows it to pair well with various ingredients and cuisines, making it an invaluable spice in your pantry.
Cooking with Black Pepper
Black pepper is used in 2 main forms - Whole or Ground. Ground Pepper can be coarse or fine.
When cooking with whole Peppercorns, it's best to add them early in the cooking process to allow the flavours to bloom and meld with the other ingredients. For example in a Curry, where whole Peppercorns along with other Whole Garam Masala Spices is added to the Oil to flavour it and add aroma.
When lightly ground and added at the end, they can provide a burst of heat. For example, grinding Peppercorns from a paper mill onto fried Eggs adds spice and flavour.
Ground black pepper, on the other hand, is widely used to season Meat, Soups, Sauces, and Vegetables.
It can be added during any stage of cooking, depending on the desired flavour intensity.
Did you Know?
Peppercorns are Berries. Black pepper is added to turmeric as it breaks down cucurmin allowing your body to take the beneficial nutrients from it and increases the rate which turmeric is absorbed in the body.
Sharp and mildly spicy. Earthy, woody/piney flavour
Recipes using Black Pepper: