LINE 17 - Blogs
PASS THE PEPPER PLEASE...
Traditionally when reaching for a Seasoning to enhance a favourite meal we reach for the Salt (Himalayan of Course!) Salt is a Seasoning beyond question. When it's used well, salt manages to make food taste not salty, but more like it's self. Almost everything we eat has some Sodium in it, and we have receptors on our tongues devoted to the taste. The human need for salt is so innate that it's only natural to adjust our dosage at the table.
But why Pepper? - Pepper sits next to the Salt Grinder at every coffee shop and kitchen counter in the country! And why do so many recipes invite us to season with Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper upon completion?
This Master Spice is versatile in all forms. It offers a vibrant flavour suitable for any dish. Historically, it has led an illustrious and full life giving fortune and paying ransomes. Pepper is used daily by most people and offers Health benefits along with adding it's unique flavour. Reach for that Pepper Shaker or Grinder and enjoy all the benefits it has to offer!
Black Pepper comes from the Berries of the Pepper Plant. Black Pepper, Green Pepper and White Peppercorns are actually the same fruit (Piper nigrum); the difference in their colour is a reflection of varying stages of development and processing methods. Black Peppercorns come about by picking the Pepper berries when they are half ripe and just about to turn red. They are then left to dry which causes them to shrivel and become dark in colour. Black Peppercorn is the most pungent and flavourful of all types of Pepper and it is available as whole or cracked Peppercorn or ground into powder. Black Pepper is best added freshly ground in a mill at the end of the cooking process since it loses it's flavour if cooked for too long.
Alternatively, Green Peppercorns are picked while still unripe and green in colour. They are often preserved in brine or vinegar and served in pickled form. In dried form, they don't last very long and have to be used quickly. They are commonly found in Thai and other Southeast Asian recipes and have a fresher flavour than their black counterparts.
White Peppercorn is picked when very ripe and subsequently soaked in brine to remove their dark outer shell leaving just the white pepper seed. They are less pungent and more earthy in flavour than black peppercorn and are commonly used in white sauces and mashed potato due to their colour as they don't visibly stand out like black pepper.
Pink Peppercorn is actually from a completely different plant species (Schinus molle) that is related to Ragweed. It is used as a spice and has a lighter pepper-like taste and can be paired with seafood and in light sauces due to their pretty colour and light taste.
Szechuan Peppercorn has a fragrant aroma that has been likened to Lavendar. However, it's main c;laim to fame is the powerful numbing sensation it causes around the mouth. When married with Chilli Peppers (the other key ingredient in Szechuan cuisine), chefs believe this numbing effect reduces the Chilli Peppers heat, leaving diners free to appreciate the Capsicum's intense, fruity flavour. Ground, roasted Szechuan Peppercorn can be used to make infused oil and can also be paired with salt to make a flavourful seasoning.
Wait! There's more!
Not only does Black Peppercorn taste good but it is also good for you! Black Pepper contains the mineral Potassium, which helps improve the stomachs ability to digest food and promotes intestinal health. Because Black Pepper is a carminative, it discourages intestinal gas from forming, and as a bonus, the outer layer of the peppercorn aids in the break-down of fat cells!