This is a continuation of my Spice Series.
Welcome to my information on Black Peppercorns!
The Culinary Uses of Black Peppercorns
**In ancient times, black pepper was considered the “King of Spices” and it was more valuable than gold. One’s social standing was even measured by how much black pepper was owned by the household.
**One of the reasons it was so valuable was that Black peppercorns were a closely guarded secret by the Arab traders that traded them to the Western world. This increased the desire for the black pepper, so that in medieval times, some European countries even used it as a currency.
**Today, it is possible to find black, green, white, and pink/red peppercorns in most grocery stores. These colors are from the same peppercorn: black ones are the dried immature fruit of the peppercorn plant; green peppercorns are the black ones immersed in boiling water; white pepper is the inner portion of the black peppercorns; and pink/red ones are ripened completely on the vine by turning from green to yellow to pinkish red.
This post is about the Culinary Uses of Black Peppercorns.
Although we probably all know how to use black pepper in our recipes, I hope this post will give you some inspiration for future cooking ideas. I have also posted on the Medicinal Benefits of Black Peppercorns and I also wrote about How to Grow Black Peppercorns.
Culinary Uses of Peppercorns
**After salt, pepper is the most frequently used spice in the world. It is an ingredient that is found in almost every savory (not as many sweet) recipes and it can be found on every dinner table in America.
**Most cuisines from around the world use peppercorns in one or more of their colors/forms in their food. India, for example, uses black peppercorns profusely. It is an important ingredient in India’s spice blend called ‘garam masala’ as well as many Indian food recipes.
**The Middle East uses black peppercorns as a key ingredient in their spice mix called ‘baharat’.
**The French prefer white pepper, and use it in their cream-based sauces. They also grind white and black peppercorns together in a spice blend called ‘mignonette’.
**In America, black peppercorns are not only an important condiment found on most dinner tables, but it is also an important ingredient in Cajun and Creole recipes.
**I encourage you to buy different colors of peppercorns and figure out which one you like best. Each one has a slightly different taste to it. Please note, however, that the chemical compound called ‘piperine’, which has strong medicinal benefits, is most abundant in black peppercorns, so if you desire the health benefits of peppercorns, you might want to stick with black ones.
**Black pepper is simply one of the most useful culinary spices. Most people do not mind the taste of pepper, even if they are picky about other spices. Many meals can be salvaged simply by adding a good dose of black pepper to it.
**Black pepper also has a unique talent of helping increase the tastes, aromas, and even medicinal benefits of other spices in a dish. It complements ALL spices (click here to my list of other spices).
**At the end of the day, black pepper can be added to almost any kind of food: red meat, game, seafood, beans, lentils, berries, apples, pears, cheese, soups, stews, poultry, and the list goes on.
**Here are a few recipes that I have found for inspiration on using more peppercorns:
- Garlic Peppercorn Chicken Thighs
- Paleo Chick-fil-a
- Black Pepper and Caper Cream Sauce
- Walnut and Black Pepper Cookies
**Like with most spices that I have researched so far, for the best taste and the maximum health benefit, it is best to buy whole peppercorns and grind them as needed. Once pepper is ground, it begins to lose its’ piperine as well as other important volatile oils. It also begins to lose its’ flavor.
**The best black peppercorns are large, black or dark brown, and have a dull look. If it is shiny, it usually means that it is an inferior product. You can usually buy black peppercorns at your local stores in whole, cracked, or ground form. If you have to buy ground pepper, make sure it is not too black: this means that it is an inferior product. Instead, your ground black pepper should have both white and black specks in it.
**White peppercorns are most often sold whole, and green or pink/red peppercorns are usually either dried or in a brine solution. The best dried green peppercorns are freeze-dried. They should be plump and very bright green. Both green and pink peppercorns are too soft to be ground in a peppermill. They will most likely clog your peppermill if you try to grind them like this. If you purchase green or pink peppercorns in a brine solution, you should use them within two weeks of opening.
**Whole black peppercorns will keep indefinitely if placed in a cool, dark place. Make sure to use keep whole peppercorns in a metal, glass, or if necessary a plastic peppermill and NOT a wood one. Wood peppermills will leach peppercorns of their oils over time.
**There are also fake pink peppercorns from Brazil that are often confused with true pink/red peppercorns. They do not come from the same plant and you should make sure if you purchase pink/red peppercorns, that it has the name of the true pepper plant (Piper nigrum) on the container.
Do YOU have a famous Black Peppercorn recipe?
Please feel free to add links to them in the comments below.
**Don’t forget to check out my Medicinal Benefits of Black Peppercorn post for additional information on this amazing spice.
**Don’t forget to check out my How to Grow Black Peppercorns information as well.
**Also, do not forget to check out my information on other spices here.
Like the art work?
An amazing artist, Christy Beckwith, made the illustrations for this post. This Black Peppercorn picture is one of my favorites, and I plan on hanging it up in my kitchen someday. If you know any chefs, cooks, or culinary lovers, I bet they would LOVE this art work in their kitchen! Maybe you would like it too! Click here to go to her shop page.