Special report on pepper

Did you know that the expression "to pay in type" comes from the expression "tp pay in spice"? In the Middle Ages, spices were very expensive and sometimes people paid with pepper. It's use has been democratised afterwards, so it has become the most used spice in the world. We now call it the king of spices.

Pepper loses it's flavour when it is cooked or boiled and when it is ground. To fully appreciate it, it is recommended to serve with a grinder after the cooking. Maybe that explains it's popularity. It is easy to use and it always gives flavour to food. It is healthy and can easily replace salt.

But did you know that over twenty types of pepper exist in the world? There is real pepper and fake pepper, of all colours and all shapes. India is the main pepper producer, but it is also cultivated in Indonesia, in Malaysia and in Brazil. It's production represents one quarter of international spice commerce and the American continent is the biggest importer.

 

Different coloured pepper:

 

Pepper is originally from the equitorial forests of India, and the berries on the Malabar coast are the most renowned. True peppers come from the same plant: the piper nigrum. People take the fruits and produce different coloured peppers, based on the maturity and the different drying procedures. For example, green pepper is the piper nigrum berry when it has been picked before it's maturity. It gives a slightly spicy taste and is excellent for pepper sauce and duck. We can eat it under three forms: dehydrated, lyophilisated (when the water has been taken out thanks to overfreezing it) or in brine.

Black pepper is picked at maturity, fermented and sun dried. It is excellent with red meat. Red pepper, (to not be confused for the pink berry, which is not a true pepper) is picked at maturity and dried away from the light. There are ripe fruit flavours and goes well with sole filets, veal, poultry , vegetables and desserts. White pepper is a mature pepper that has had the enveloppe, the pericarpe taken off. It is therefore less spicy, but particularly appreciated with fish and white meat.

 

Different shapes

 

Let's add that good peppers are like good wines. They have original names. Pepper afficionados will recognize the taste differences from Madagascar peppers, cultivated on "spice island" at a hot and humid climate, a region very in demand by spice hunters. They will recognize also tellicherry pepper, produced in India on the Malabar coast. Other types of pepper have particular morphologies: cubebe pepper, or tailed pepper that gives a taste of camphre, lemon and menthol. it is picked on Madura island in Indonesia.

Lampong pepper from Sumatra with it's wrinkled grains. The most surprising is the  long Java pepper, which has the shape of little sticks and a taste of licorice and fruit.

Finally, if you really want to impress your friends, offer them the Voatsiperifery (you must absolutely learn this word by heart and pronounce it seriously and correctly), a wild pepper that grows in the middle of the forest of Madagascar, on vines that go up to more than 15 meters. Delicious. Vines in your home are not necessary to impress your friends, theough they certainely don't hurt.

 

False peppers:

When we talk about fake peppers, we mean all peppers that do not come from the piper nigrum plant. It is not true that false peppers aren't as good as real ones. In fact, they are different and are used compltely differently. People usually use them mixed with real peppers (for example, four pepper or five pepper mix). Some dont need presentation: cayenne pepper (very strong), pink pepper, jamaican pepper. Other deserve special mention. For example, Szechuan (or fagara) is used in the mix of Chinese five spices, and has a minty taste and is slightly anesthesiant in the mouth. To appreciate it's full flavour, you can grill the grains in a dry pan until they smoke and after mould them. The maninguette, also called Guinea pepper, is a spice with a strong and slightly tangy taste. The plant produces a big pod that contains a lot of little seeds. You can find them in subtropical Africa where it is often used as an aphrodisiac. The Guinea pepper is also called paradise plant, or paradise pepper.

Chiloé pepper is lemony and gives gingerbread flavours. Sancho pepper, also called japanese pepper, is not a true pepper either. This table spice is only avaliable in powder, which we sprinkle on cooked meals. It also enters in the composition on the famous japanese shichimi, a japanese mix of seven spices.

 

Spice mixes.

 

Spice mixes

 

 

Like peppers themselves, there are many different pepper mix types. What is the point in mixing them? People like the colours and they are most of the time bought for their aesthetic appeal instead of their taste. If one day you have fun counting the colour proportions in the pepper grinder of a supermarket, you'll see that the proportions will usually be close to this: around 80% of black pepper, 10% white pepper, 7% green pepper and 3% pink berries. But this type of mix gives very little on a culinary level. But the real pepper lovers will know the more equalized proportions: the spiciest is black pepper and the softest, the white pepper. The green and the pink, in a proportion of around 20%, will bring a fruiter, warmer and more aromatic note. Is normal, however, that the proportion of pink berries is weaker, because they can be toxic if you ingest too many: a dozen berries per meal is a reasonable measure.

The four pepper mix is the most popular (green, white, black and pink, and in certain cases red). Jamaican pepper can generally complete the team for a five berry mix. But the mix possibilities are endless and many salesmen have made specialised mixes by incorporating rarer peppers like Maniguette, tellicherry, which is very costly or coriander seeds.

 

Pepper and health.

 

Finally, pepper is very healthy. Vatsyayana, the.

 


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2 Comments To "Special report on pepper"
Denise - 01/04/2014

Ca donne envie de cuisiner et d'essayer ces typed de poivre. Merci
John White - 16/03/2014

Très intéressant. Merci. Je vais partager avec mes amis.

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