September 17, 2020
Where does Black Peppercorn come from?
Black pepper, otherwise known as Piper nigrum, is a flowering vine from the Piperaceae family. This plant grows a fruit known as a peppercorn.
Black pepper is traditionally from Kerala in South India. However, as of 2013, Vietnam is the world's largest producer and exporter of pepper, producing 34% of the world's crop. Black pepper is the world's most traded spice and is one of the most used, everyday spices to add some flavour to a meal.
How is the dried peppercorn made?
The fruit, when ready, is about 5mm and dark red, containing a single seed like all drupes (a fleshy fruit with a stone in the middle). The fruit is usually dried in the sun or in a machine for several days. During the drying process, the flesh around the seed shrivels to leave a wrinkly texture with a deep black colour.
Red peppercorns are usually ripe peppercorn drupes that have been preserved in brine and vinegar. Ripe red peppercorns can also be dried using the same colour-preserving techniques used to produce green pepper.
What is the Black Peppercorn used for?
Ground, dried, and cooked peppercorns have been used since before the Middle Ages, for both flavour and medicine. Its popularity has continued throughout the years and is one of the most common spices added to cuisines around the world.
People consume black pepper for a whole host reasons, from afflictions such as arthritis and asthma to upset stomachs, bronchitis, tiredness, headaches, sinus infections, dizziness, vitiligo, exercise performance, for weight loss, and even cancer. Black pepper can also be applied to the skin for measles and nerve pain or insect bites. Inhaling black pepper oil is said to aid in quitting smoking and reducing nicotine cravings. These medicinal uses make the spice incredibly popular worldwide.
As well as the black peppercorn’s amazing medicinal purposes, it is also, and perhaps most importantly, very tasty. Peppercorn's spiciness is due to the chemical compound called piperine, which is a different kind of 'spicy' from the capsaicin characteristic of chilli peppers (see Spice blog #4). As you probably know, pepper is often paired with salt and is seen on dining tables in shakers for a quick bit of added flavour to a meal.
Black pepper is also used very famously in the Chinese delicacy 'Salt and Pepper Chicken'. As this versatile spice is incredibly popular and tasty, it is no surprise it can even be used in a few cheeky cocktails!
Joy Everley Jewellery Inspiration
Our Peppercorn pieces are cute and crater-ish like the moon (which they could easily be mistaken for). Don't leave your Joy Everley peppercorn necklace too close to your kitchen or you could mistake your jewellery for the real thing!
Dainty and spherical, our peppercorn comes in darkened silver, vermeil, gold and we have even added a diamond to some of our pieces because the only thing better than a peppercorn is a sparkly one!
This spice is definitely a conversation-starter that can stand alone or accompany your other spices, as we all know, pepper pretty much goes with everything.
Written by Cate Riley.
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