When I want to get new flavors in the kitchen, I turn to spices and herbs. There are many ways to mix them, but my favorite is peppercorn.
Mixing of spices is a very old practice. In fact, it is ancient practice that was used by Romans and Egyptians. Peppercorn is mostly associated with the Roman Empire, but there are records of its use in Egypt as well. Some sources show that peppercorn was used in 100 BC.
When used in Roman times, peppercorn was known as Piper Nigrum. It has been found in archeological sites and documents that suggest that it was used extensively back then. This spice was so popular during those times because it was believed to be an aphrodisiac and refreshment for the body. Its name itself came from Latin word “piper” which means pepper, while “niger” stands for black color of peppercorns.
This spice has been a major trading commodity during the Roman Empire and later on during the medieval period when pepper started to be traded all over Europe at extremely high prices. It is believed that the first shipment of pepper was around 525 AD when it was transported from India to Alexandria and then shipped again from there to Rome. A lot of
Peppercorns are not the only herbs and spices used to make new flavors in the kitchen. But they are perhaps the most common ones; certainly others (like cloves or cinnamon) are less common today. It is interesting that a single species can be so useful; it is a reminder of how much we have learned about plants since humans first began to cultivate them.
Peppercorns grow on trees, like allspice and juniper berries do. In fact, when you look at a peppercorn you can see the resemblance to juniper berries more than anything else. That’s because they are in the same family of plants, which is why they taste similar, too. But it is misleading to call them “berries,” because they come from a completely different kind of tree.
Culinary uses of pepper include:
As a spice (or seasoning). Peppercorns enhance flavor; in small quantities they bring out good qualities in food, while in larger quantities they mask bad qualities.
It could be said that cooking is largely about using pepper; cooks use other herbs and spices as well, but for no other class of ingredient is pepper such an essential part of cooking as it is for herbs and spices.
As a medicine. Pepper was used like this
Peppercorn is a spice from the dried berry of an Asian vine. It has an intense pungency that adds a distinctive flavor to food. The taste of pepper is often described as hot, and it does have a warming effect on the body, but its flavor is complex. You can taste black pepper, white pepper and red pepper in different dishes, though all are made from the same berry.
Peppercorns are sold whole or ground. Whole peppercorns have a sharper flavor than ground because they contain a volatile oil that evaporates over time when they’re exposed to air. Ground peppercorn loses its flavor more quickly because it’s exposed to more air. Pepper should be stored in an airtight container in a cool place like your spice rack, not in the refrigerator or freezer.
Keeping whole peppercorns longer than three months requires you to use some kind of preservative like sugar or salt to keep them from spoiling.
Peppercorns are usually added near the end of cooking, but they are also great for adding flavor to marinades and rubs for grilling meats.
Black pepper is most often sold as coarsely ground peppercorn with the hull, stem and germ removed so it will stay fresh longer. White
Mature peppercorn is the dried fruit of a tropical vine. The berry is about the size of an olive, although its shape and color vary widely. Green peppercorns are picked before they ripen; black, white and pink peppercorns are left to mature on the vine until they shrivel up and turn brown.
Taste: Peppercorns are used for both flavor and as a spice. They add pungency to recipes, which comes from their essential oil—50 percent pinene, 25 percent cineol, 10 percent limonene and 5 percent camphene. A compound called methylchavicol gives black pepper its distinctive aroma.
Peppercorns can be used whole or ground into a powder. The former is usually sprinkled onto food or directly onto the plate before eating; the latter is often added to sauces, stews and soups. Whole peppercorns can be crushed with a pestle in a mortar or between two spoons before cooking.
The flavor of peppercorn combines well with other strong flavors such as garlic, chili peppers, onions and tomatoes. When combined with these ingredients it becomes a very popular seasoning in many cuisines around the world.
Peppercorns are the berries of a small evergreen tree found in Asia and America. They are extremely hot and used in food to spice it up. Peppercorn can be used whole or ground into a powder and is mainly used on meats like steak, pork, chicken and duck, but can also be added to soups, sauces, vegetables and other seafood. It is also sometimes used in desserts such as ice cream, cakes and chocolate.
You can get black peppercorn which is made from the ripened berries of the pepper tree. You can get white peppercorn which is not made from the pepper berry but from the inner lining of the fruit. The white peppercorn has a milder taste than the black one.
Taste buds are very sensitive to heat, so tasting peppers like peppercorns is difficult for most people. The best way to do this is to touch your tongue to the tip of the pepper before you put it into your mouth. This will allow you to feel its heat without burning yourself. When cooking with peppercorns try just a few grains at first until you know how much you want to use.’
The peppercorn plant is native to the Indian subcontinent, and it was from there that pepper spread across the world. Pepper is so intertwined with the history of trade that even today currencies are often quoted in terms of its value. The Roman Empire began importing pepper around 100 B.C. When Rome fell, Venice became the main trading hub for this and other spices, and pepper was used as a form of currency in many regions of the world. In fact, the word “peppercorn” was originally used as a term for a very small amount of money.
It is no wonder then that the spice quickly became a sign of affluence. The price of black pepper skyrocketed in Europe during the Middle Ages because it was rare and exotic, but once it became readily available, people stopped valuing it so much. This led to what economists call an “elasticity of demand.” Demand became elastic because pepper’s value was derived not just from its usefulness in cooking but also from its scarcity and status as a luxury item. The more plentiful it became, the less people were willing to pay for it, and so its price dropped.
Even when black pepper’s price fell dramatically after Christopher Columbus arrived in 1492 with a shipload of pepperc
Peppercorns are indigenous to the Malabar Coast, in Western India. They were used as a spice before the common era. The name itself derives from the Latin “piper”, meaning pepper plant. Black pepper is one of the most widely traded spices in the world. Pungent and aromatic with a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg, it enhances the flavor of almost any food.