Black pepper is arguably one of the world’s most popular spices. Originally from South and Southeast Asia black pepper has been used in Indian cooking since at least 2000 BC! It was brought to Europe by the Romans after they conquered Egypt, where it slowly became more and more popular in western cooking. Nowadays you can pretty much find it in everyone’s kitchen cabinets!
Black pepper nutrition
Black pepper isn’t just great for its taste, it is known to be pretty good for you! Some of these health benefits include promoting weight loss, improving digestion, cold and cough relief, metabolism boosting, and helping skin problems.
It is rich in minerals like potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, and vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin C, and vitamin B6. Other nutrients include vitamin E, folate, and vitamin K.
Black pepper also has antibacterial qualities and can help ease a cold. We suggest combining some ground pepper with honey, ginger and some lemon juice to a cup of hot water.
Black pepper in cooking
Pepper is sold either powdered or whole (peppercorns). a small pinch can be a powerful flavour enhancer. It can also be the central ingredient in some dishes like the wonderful and creamy black peppercorn sauce a classic side to a steak!
Black pepper and turmeric
You have no doubt heard of the growing popularity of turmeric for its health benefiting qualities. To name a few it an anti-inflammatory, an antioxidant, it maintains insulin levels and it also said to reduce joint pain! However, did you know that most of the time turmeric gets metabolized before it can be absorbed by the body?
This is when our friend pepper comes in…
Combining black pepper and turmeric will help active absorption of turmeric into your bloodstream before it is metabolised! We suggest using both spices in a home cooked curry or in a wonderful cup of golden milk!
Types of pepper
- White pepper – Come from the same plant as black pepper. Black pepper is the fruit of the plant and white peppercorns are the seeds! Ground white pepper is most commonly used in Chinese and Thai cooking.
- Green pepper – Are unripe peppercorns which are treated so they retain their green colour. Green peppercorns are used mainly in Thai cuisine. They have a spicy and fresh taste.
- Wild pepper – (Or Voatsiperifery pepper) grows in the Western Ghats region of India and grown on vines that can climb to about 18meteres high. They are harvested by hand by farmers on very tall ladders. This makes this pepper very rare. Its taste is intense and spicy. Its colour can vary between red with black shades and black.
- Orange pepper and Red pepper – this type of pepper is made by preserving the peppercorn in brine and vinegar. Ripe red peppercorns can also be dried using the same colour-preserving techniques used to produce green pepper.
- Pink pepper – Comes from a different type of pepper plant called the Peruvian pepper tree. This pepper plant is a member of the cashew family. This means they use of pink pepper may cause allergic reactions, for people who suffer from a nut allergy.
Black pepper allergy
Some people may be allergic to pepper. Some common symptoms to look out for include; hives, a mild to severe skin rash, itchy or watery eyes, itching in your mouth, facial swelling and in some extreme cases anaphylactic shock. If you think you are allergic to pepper contact your doctor.