Black pepper is one spice that is widely used around the world. In the United States and some other parts of the world, black pepper and table salt stands side-by-side on most dinner tables.
While black pepper is one of the few spices almost everyone uses more frequently, most of us have never bothered to know how beneficial this popular spice is, or how it became this famous.
Black pepper spice has been one of the most traded since ancient times. At a time in history, black pepper was reserved for the wealthy, commanding high prices in terms of value on the world trade market.
The black pepper that we commonly use starts its life as green berries from a flowering vine known as Piper nigrum. While there are a few other regions of the world where black pepper is produced, this spice originates from the Western Ghats of Kerala State in India.
Interestingly, the black pepper was first discovered and sold around the world over 4,000 years ago to become the second most popular household spice in today’s dining tables and kitchens.
Black Pepper Flavor Profile
There is a distinct and irresistible earthiness to the black pepper flavor, one that is piney, woody, and sharp all at once. Black pepper also has a unique pungent taste that is both hot and biting to both average and refined palettes.
Contrary to what most people believe, pepper is not meant to be sprinkled on food or used as often as we use salt. Salt is a natural additive, especially to enhance the flavor of a dish.
In fact, almost every meal (including baked goods like pies and cookies) contains a small pinch of salt. Black pepper, on the other hand, is not a flavor enhancer like salt and seasoning but a spice.
This is a distinction that only a few people know, but it’s an essential one to take note of whether you’re a budding chef or a casual cook.
Black Pepper Benefits
There are so many health benefits black pepper is praised for. For hundreds of decades, it has been a significant ingredient in a wide variety of natural remedies from detox mixtures to clear the skin mixtures and massage oils that are famous in Ayurvedic treatments.
From beauty treatments to herbal tinctures, black pepper surely has more uses than many people would even imagine. The health benefits of black pepper are almost countless; some of them include the ability to ease:
- Respiratory disorders
- Common cold
- Heart disease
- Muscular strains
- Dental disease
While it might seem almost unbelievable, there is a scientific explanation of the variety of ailments that black pepper is believed to cure.
It has been found to act as a very significant natural anti-inflammatory seed as well as possessing relatively stable antibacterial qualities. In fact, it was once used (and sometimes still is) frequently as a preservative to prolong the shelf-life of specific foods due to its antibacterial properties.
While it might seem far-fetched, there is scientific reasoning behind the variety of ailments black pepper is believed to benefit. It is known to act as an outstanding natural anti-inflammatory agent, as well as having relatively stable antibacterial properties.
In fact, it was once frequently (and sometimes still is) used as a preservative to increase the shelf-life of certain foods because of its antibacterial properties.
Also, this spice is a rich source of iron, manganese, potassium, vitamin K, vitamin C, and dietary fiber. Black pepper can stimulate neural pathways in the human brain, boosting brain health and reducing memory impairment and cognitive malfunction.
One of the most valuable benefits of black pepper is that it promotes bioavailability. In other words, it assists your body in the more efficient transport and absorption of the healthy foods you consume, making those nutrients a lot more available and accessible to your system in general.
Common Uses of Black Pepper
You can include a noticeable amount to any culinary creation by sprinkling fresh black pepper into the dish once you are close to the end of cook time.
Knowing how to cook or use black pepper to your benefit can offer you an easy way to change the flavor of a wide range of dishes.
When you use ground fresh black pepper for your meal almost at the end of cooking, the taste that you create does not give your food a “peppery” feel; rather, you’re giving it a sweet sting that is not too noticeable, yet earthy and flavorful with a tad bit of spiciness.
There are individual dishes that take full advantage of the fantastic flavor profile of black pepper. For instance, there are excellent steak rubs that can be prepared using black pepper as the main ingredient.
The resulting steaks you cook up on the grill will entail every nuance that black pepper has to give, from the earthy taste that combines so well with the smoky flavors of a charcoal grill all the way to the pungent spiciness that makes that peppery, refreshing feel on your tongue.
Venison steaks are especially delicious when they are cooked with black pepper as one of the ingredients, as the somewhat sugary flavor of this meat is adequately complemented by the woody and pungent tones of the pepper.
Black pepper is not just the spice for carnivores. There are several ways to mix simple but surprisingly delicious salad dressings with this spice.
Black pepper and Lemon play against each other, especially real good in a light, oil-based salad dressing, forming a tanginess as the flavors of spices and pungency combine.
The lord of all spices
The next time you eat a meal made with black pepper as a spice, or If you add a tiny bit of black pepper to every meal, take some time to appreciate it. Pay close attention to how complex the flavors it actually contains are.
While you’re sure to reap some amazing health benefits from this “healthy spice,” you just might find yourself in a hurry to start creating exciting new recipes to enable you to showcase your new knowledge and love for black pepper.
Leave a comment below if you have any questions or suggestions.