Black pepper

Black pepper

Black pepperBlack pepper, also referred to as the king of spices, is used on a global scale. In combination with salt, black pepper is the most commonly use spice for cooking. Pepper has been used since ancient times and provides every dish with a unique flavor. This article will provide some background information to the spice as well as outline the health benefits. Also, it will provides some tips on how to store the spice.

Description

Black pepper  are the berries of the pepper plant. There are different types of pepper. There is black pepper, white pepper and green pepper. These different types of pepper grow from the same fruit. The difference in color reflects the different stages of development and the varying processing methods which are used. Black peppercorns are made when they are picked at the stage when they are half ripe. You can recognize that the peppercorns are at this stage since they are about to turn red. After they have been picked, the peppercorns are left to dry. During the drying process, the pepper corns become shriveled and they become darker in color. Green peppercorns, on the other hand, are picked when they are still unripe. When they are still unripe, they still have a green color and they remain green. White peppercorns are picked when they are ripe. After they have been picked, they are soaked in brine. This is done in order to remove their outer shell which has a dark color. After the shell has been removes, the white pepper seeds are left. Pink peppercorns also exist, however they are not related to the aforementioned types of pepper. Pink peppercorns are related to ragweed and belong to a different plant species. Black pepper is the most flavorful types of all peppers and is also the one which is most commonly used. Pepper can be bought in whole peppercorns, in powder form or they can be purchased as cracked peppercorns.

History

Pepper is native to India, where it has played an important role throughout its history. The spice has been used for centuries in the Indian cuisine. It is commonly added to Indian curries to provide it with a rich flavor. The spice has also been used in the Greek cuisine. The spice held a high prestige among the Greeks. It was not only used as seasoning for cooking, but it was also considered to be a currency. Due to its high prestige in the Greek society, it was also used for sacred offerings. It was used to pay taxes and ransoms, as well as to honor the gods. When the Roman empire fell, the barbarians that invaded the area were also honor by being given black peppercorns. This illustrates that peppercorns were a symbol of wealth and prestige. Moreover, during the time of the Middle Ages a man’s wealth was often measured by the degree of pepper he had. While pepper has always been used for various purposes, the main purpose of pepper has always been the culinary purpose. The taste of pepper always spices up bland foods and provides a unique flavor to dishes. A pinch of pepper can already provide a huge difference to a dish. The spice was also used to help preserve food. Rubbing food in pepper can help to prolong the freshness of food. The main commercial producers of pepper in the world are Indonesia and India. However, the main producer of green pepper is Cambodia. Green pepper, often referred to as Kampot pepper, is used all over the world due to its unique and rich flavor. Kampot is a town located in the south of the country and became famous because of its pepper. The pepper is so popular, it is even used by some of the most prestigious restaurants in the world.

Health benefits

Pepper provides multiple health benefits. One of the main health benefits of the spice is the fact that it is has a positive influence on the stomach. The hydrochloric acid secretion in the stomach is increased which in turn facilitates digestion. Proper digestion is crucial in order to avoid constipation and diarrhea. Pepper can also help to prevent intestinal gas from forming in the digestive system. Moreover, various studies have concluded that when pepper is incorporated in a person’s diet it can promote urination and sweating. This can help to remove toxins from the body. With regards to urination, excess water and uric acid can be removed from the body. Increased sweating can help to clean out the pores and get rid of foreign bodies. Improved digestion can also help to increase the general functioning of your body. Also, on the long term improved digestion can help to prevent colorectal cancer. The ability of pepper to expel gas in the body is due to the fact that pepper is a carminative. This means that it helps the body to get rid of gas in a natural manner by pressing it in a downward manner. If the gas moves in an upward motion it could be dangerous and strain the upper chest cavity. It could also inhibit the formation of more gas in the body. Since pepper helps in the digestion process, it can also contribute to losing weight. More specifically, it is the outer layer of the peppercorns which can help to break down fat cells. Thus, foods which are peppery can help in losing weights. Pepper also has a positive influence on the skin. It can help to cur vitiligo. Vitiligo is a skin disease which causes some areas of the skin to lose pigmentation. This loss of pigmentation eventually leads to these areas turning white. Researchers have concluded that the compound in pepper called piperine can contribute to the production of pigment.


White pepper

As mentioned, both black and white peppercorns come from the fruit of the pepper plant. However, the two types are processed differently. While black pepper is picked when it is almost ripe, white pepper is produced by removing its outer layer after it has been dried. White pepper has a bit of a different taste compared to black pepper. It tastes hotter than black pepper but the taste is not as complex. High quality peppercorns of both black and white pepper have a more intense flavor. One of the key aspects to white pepper is its freshness. It is important to purchase white pepper which is relatively fresh since the taste of white pepper becomes more bitter faster compared to black pepper. In American and European kitchens, it is more common to use black pepper. However, white pepper is more commonly used for light-colored dishes. For example, when spicing mashed potatoes and white sauces it is common to use white pepper. Moreover, white pepper is often used in the French cuisine due to the many light-colored dishes. White pepper is also commonly used in Chinese cuisine as well as the Vietnamese kitchen. In the Vietnamese kitchen, it is mainly used to spice pork dishes as well as soups. Swedes also use white pepper more often compared to black pepper.

Culinary uses

Black pepper is considered to be one of the most versatile spices. In order to keep the flavor intact as much as possible, the spice is often milled. It is then added to dishes to provide it with extra flavor. In many recipes, the spice is added at the last minute. When the spice is added at an earlier stage in the cooking process, it could lead to the evaporation of some essential oils. The spice is commonly added as seasoning to marinate meat, fish and chicken. In combination with salt, paprika and turmeric powder, it provides the meat with a unique flavor. The spice is also widely used to bring flavor to Indian chicken curries as well as Indian vegetarian dishes. In the Middle-East the spice is also commonly used to rice and meat dishes. In many cuisines, pepper is also used in the preparation of sauces. It is added to barbecue sauces, soups and picklings. Moreover, the spice is also considered to be the main ingredient of curry powders. For example, it is important in the preparation of Indian garam masala powder which is a the main spice used in the preparation of Indian curries. While the spice is mostly used in savory foods, it can also be used in sweet preparation. When it is used for these dishes, only a tiny quantity is used. For example, it is added to fruitcakes, breads and pies.  Besides the fact that it is added to main dishes, in India and Pakistan the spice is commonly found on serving tables in restaurants in combination with salt. In the Punjab province in Pakistan, this mixture is often sprinkled over fruit salads, churned yoghurt and in soups. The type of pepper which is commonly used in Indonesia is Cubeb peppers. These peppers are commonly featured in Indonesian curries.

How to select and store

As mentioned, pepper is available in whole, crushed or powder forms. In order to ensure that you have the best flavor, it is best to grind the pepper yourself. This can be easily done by getting a small mill and grinding the pepper right before adding it to the recipe. Besides the fact that whole peppercorns have a more superior flavor compared to ground pepper, by purchasing whole pepper you will also be assured that it is unadulterated pepper. When buying pepper in powder form, it is often mixed with other spices. Whole peppercorns should not only be heavy, but they should also be free of any spots or blemishes. Most supermarkets will sell both whole and ground pepper. However, if you want to purchase other types of pepper, you might not be able to find these in the supermarket. You might want to visit a local spice store which often has a wide variety of spices and will most likely have white and green pepper in their collection. Moreover, as with other herbs and spices it is recommended to buy those spices which are organically grown. By buying organically grown spices, you will be assured that it has not been irradiated. When storing black pepper, it is recommended to store it in a glass container which is sealed. Also, this container should be kept in a dry and cool place. Ground pepper will be able to last up until three months. Whole peppercorns, on the other hand, can be kept almost indefinitely. While it is also possible to freeze pepper, the flavor of the spice often becomes more pronounced. Thus, it is therefore not recommended to freeze the peppercorns but rather buy them fresh whenever you need them.





                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Article written by: SarahAjaoud
Times read: 915x
Added: 25-12-2016 00:45
Last modified: 22-02-2017 18:27

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