OK! I'm not quite sure where my curiosity for peppercorn sprang from, but I'm excited to share why it is a spice you should value a little bit more in your diet!
Today Black pepper is a very inexpensive spice, found in today's world, basically anywhere there is food. It wasn't always so common, in fact, it was traded as currency because it was so valuable and rare . Piper nigrum, its scientific name, is a flowering vine in the family Piperaceae, cultivated for its bunches of fruit. Pictured above you will see variations, not just in color but in age of the pepper. When dried, the fruit is known as a peppercorn. We usually find it in its black, white or green form. The black peppercorn is picked when it is not completel ripe, and then dried. The black is the most flavorful of the three and also has two variations- Tellicherry and Lampong (the two variations are simply in the size of the peppercorn, 4.25mm or bigger is Tellicherry and 4.75 or bigger Lampong). The larger a peppercorn grows the more it loses heat but gains aroma.
The white peppercorn has ripened before it is harvested and is better in culinary purposes for obvious reasons. For a white sauce, you would want to use the white peppercorn to avoid speckles in your food vs. if you were using the black.
Then the green peppercorn hasn't been dried. It is soft, under ripe and preserved in jars or brine in the refrigerator. They can last for months if unopened. Dried peppercorns (black) can keep for up to 4 months before losing their flavor.
Pepper dates back 4000 years ago. Said to be found near the Kerala (southern most region) of India and also has been cultivated in Malaysia and Indonesia since. The Indian culture used it for many medicinal uses: constipation, gangrene, digestion and healing wounds. I also found some additional uses for it in our modern day, but don't quote me on them, I've never tried it out other than culinary purposes:
Sprinkle a teaspoon of ground black pepper per load, in your washing machine at the beginning of washing. It will keep the colors bright longer.
Soothe a wet cough
Pepper stimulates mucus flow and circulation. Add honey as it is a natural reliever for cough and mild antibiotic. In a cup put 1 tsp. of ground black pepper and 2 tbsp. of honey. Pour over boiling water and let it sit for 15 minutes. Or for immediate relief try sucking on a little black pepper on a piece of lemon.
Pepper is a natural decongestant. Chemicals found in black pepper irritate the nose membranes, producing thinner mucus and helping you clear out your sinuses. Take boiling water, add five drops of pepper oil and a dash of eucalyptus oil. Smell and be relieved!
Soothe sore muscles and skin
My favorite! Black Pepper increases circulation, Combine 2 drops of black pepper oil with 4 drops of rosemary oil, Apply this directly to the skin. When the heat stimulates the skin, your pores open a deeper clean occurs.
Black pepper helps with digestion. It stimulates the secretion of hydrochloric acid, which helps digest food allowing you to better absorb the nutrients!
Heal a cut
Black pepper is used as a home remedy to stop small scrapes and cuts from bleedings. Pepper holds antibacterial properties and it appears that it can make blood coagulate and stop bleeding.
Our Dinner "Evolved Peppercorn" last night, consisted of the following:
Course 1: Ice Salad Spinach, Arugula, Romaine, Red Wine Vinegar Caviar, Sea Salt, Olive Oil, Black Pepper
Course 2: Petite Beef Wellington with Madagascar Vanilla Peppercorn Cream Sauce
Course 3: Smoked Salmon Mousse, Parsley Dust, Toast Crumbs, Ginger Macaroon, Black Pepper Cucumber, Parsnip & Garlic Chips and Dill Crema
Course 4: Peacock Profiteroles filled with White Pepper Custard and Chocolate
If you're interested in a dinner similar to this, please inquire to firstname.lastname@example.org We would love to prepare it for you and your guests! Wine pairings available too, wine sold separately.