Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Pepper - the first in a monthly series about spices

Food without pepper is unimaginable to me – well for savoury dishes anyway!  It is no wonder that pepper is known as the King of Spices.

Pepper was known as far back as in Roman times.  Pepper is known for stimulating the appetite and assisting with nausea.  Some people believe that the smell produced by your body after eating lots of pepper repels mosquitoes!  Given how they munch on me given half a chance I find this hard to believe!

The best flavour comes from grinding fresh peppercorns.  I must admit to using quite a lot of ground white pepper though.  Ground pepper loses its punch quite quickly.  If your white pepper is fresh it will taste hotter than black pepper.

Peppercorns come in black, white, green and pink – each is fine on its own.  Pink peppercorns are actually berries rather than pepper.  The green ones usually come in brine.  The others are dried and can stay fresh for a long time as long as they are in an airtight container.  You can mix together different kinds of dried peppercorns into the same peppermill which will give you an interesting blend of pepperiness.

Try using 3 or 4 times your usual amount of pepper and see what a difference it makes.

Links to my recipes using pepper – Peppered prawns with snow peas, salt and pepper tofu, peppered tuna with sharp rhubarb

BIBLIOGRAPHY - with thanks to Auckland Libraries

Cook's Encyclopaedia of Spices by Sallie Morris & Lesley Mackley
Spice Market by Jane Lawson
Spicery by Ian & Elizabeth Hemphill
Spices & Natural Flavourings by Jennifer Mulherin
Spices by Sophie Grigson
Spices Condiments and Seasonings by Kenneth T Farrell
Spices, Salt and Aromatics in the English Kitchen by Elizabeth David
The Cook's Companion by Stephanie Alexander


  1. Love pepper too - I add it to just about everything! Thanks for commenting on my blog. I love the tag line of your site "Life through the eyes of a female of a certain age" :) You have a nice sense of humor! :)

  2. of course! This is only a small representation of what peppers can be used for and do not restrict them to savory items only! Red pepper corn can go well with desserts and the chili pepper with any chocolate!

  3. I only wish this were true about mosquitoes. But, they still seem to love me as well. Maybe a specific type of pepper would work?


Your comments are most welcome. Cheers