This is one of best-known, most-used, most-beneficial, and most-consumed spices in the world. But do we really know everything about pepper? Let’s find out!
The pepper plant is a flowering vine that looks a little like ivy. It produces large bunches of little berries whose color changes as they mature. Green pepper comes from corns – the name of the fruit – that are not yet mature, and its sweet, fruity scent means you can use it fresh and dried. Black pepper is spicier and picked just before it is fully ripe. When observed in transparent pepper mills, the corns look all wrinkly. This is because they are dried in the sun, which also darkens their color. As for gray pepper, this is just black pepper that has been ground into a fine powder! Red pepper is much more intense and comes from very ripe corns dried in the dark. Last but not least, delicate white pepper is made from the mature fruit, with the corns removed from their casing to display their pale inner color.
Does this remind you of anything? Tea, of course, with its colors – black, green, white – which are linked to the level of oxidation!
A spice with countless benefits
Pepper is an age-old food originally from India, and takes its name from the Sanskrit word pippali, which later became piper in Latin. Nowadays it is mainly grown in Vietnam, Indonesia, and Brazil, and was extensively used as currency along with many other spices. Did you know? This practice led to the French expression payer en espèces (“to pay in cash”), which was originally payer en épices (“to pay in spices”). For a long time, pepper was rare and expensive, and so was carefully stored and ground just before using to preserve its full flavors. This has continued today in our culinary habits. After all, a pepper mill is an indispensable part of any kitchen!
An essential ingredient
Pepper is widely used to enhance the flavors of hot and cold dishes because it has such as particular taste. It adds spicy heat to vegetables, fish, and meat thanks to a substance called piperine, which creates a warm sensation on the tongue. Some recipes are fully based around it (think pepper sauce), while others use it more sparingly in salads, roasted dishes, and grilled food. Another cooking tip is to add the pepper at the end of a recipe, as exposing it to high temperatures makes it lose its flavor.
Discover Tchai of the Tiger, our peppery chai tea
Pepper is also a star ingredient in spiced teas! You can discover its warming flavors by indulging in Tchaï of the Tiger (Organic), a delicious, organic blend from Kusmi Tea, which combines it with a fine black tea flavored with cinnamon, ginger, and Cardamom.