Black pepper ” the king of spices ” is the most common type of spice due to its flavor compounds. Consequently, black pepper has been used for a variety of purposes, including medical and culinary uses.
The origin of black pepper
The origin of black pepper goes back 4000 years ago when it was used in Indian cooking. At first, Egypt used black pepper to stuff in the nostrils of the Egyptian Pharaoh when he was mummified. This suggests the existence of trade between Egypt and India during the ancient time and explains the origin of black pepper.
Uses of each type of black pepper:
- Grade 3 is used in wholesale activities. Traders buy this type of pepper from the farmers, which has not been processed.
- Grade 2 is cleaned and filtered impurities, leaves, stalks but has not been classified. This type of pepper is used to make ground pepper in the restaurant, often sold in the market as a processing spice.
- Grade 1 is usually sold in dry goods stores, grocery stores, and large supermarkets. The grain size is uniform, no flat seeds. Fine grade 1 black pepper means firm seeds, usually quite heavy.
- Special Grade: Beautiful, smooth peppercorns. The pungent and aroma are retained the highest compared to other types
According to Internation Food Standards, depending on the weight/volume, the non-processed black pepper (NP) or semi-processed pepper (SP) is divided into four categories: special grade, grade 1, grade 2, and grade 3.
The following table describes some physical and chemical specifications of black pepper:
|Black pepper NP or SP||Processed pepper|
|Special Grade||Grade 1||Grade 2||Grade 3|
|The extraneous matter (%) is no more than||0,2||0,5||1,0||1,0||0,2|
|Light berry (%) is no more than||2||6||10||18||2,0|
|Pinhead and broken berry (%) is no more than||2,0||2,0||4,0||4,0||1,0|
|G/L is no less than||600||550||500||450||600|
|Moisture content (%) no more than||12,0||12,0||12,0||12,0||12,5|
|Piperine content (%) no less than||4,0||4,0||4,0||4,0||4,0|
In addition, the black pepper SPEC largely impacts the price. The standard of G/L (Gram/Liter) is used by dealers to classify pepper according to each price level. The higher the G/L, the better the quality of the pepper. For example, 500GL black pepper, 12% moisture, 2% admixture will have a higher price than the same 500GL black pepper product, 13.5% moisture, 4% admixture.
There are various forms of black pepper, categorized by the Vietnam Black Pepper Quality Standard. Vietnam, Brazil, and India – the largest pepper production countries can supply these types of pepper due to their large production capacity and cultivation area.
Flavor compounds in black pepper
It is noticeable that black pepper has a uniquely pungent and aromatic scent, which is both biting and hot at the same time. Other components that contribute to the scent of pepper are germacrene, limonene, and pinene:
- Piperin is re the compound responsible for the pungency in black pepper.
- Germacrene is spicy, warm, and also has a sweet aroma.
- Limonene has the scent of sweet, orange, and citrus.
Distinguish different types of pepper
To distinguish different types of pepper, the table illustrates several differences in flavor and characteristics:
|Black pepper||Unripe fruits. Black pepper is boiled, dried in the sun until it turns black and the skin becomes wrinkled.||Strongest flavor: hot, pungent, aromatic.|
|White pepper||Ripened, skinless.||Mild flavor.|
|Green pepper||Harvest when the fruit begins to have kernels.||Tart, less pungent and fresher than black pepper.|
|Red pepper||Pepper is harvested when the peppers have totally ripped and then carefully so that the red outer skin is not rubbed.||Mild flavor.|
Health benefits of black pepper
- Support digest system: Piperine is an excellent digestive tool. It provides energy to taste buds and creates more hydrochloric acid, which helps digest proteins and other foods in the stomach. Good digestion is vital to prevent diarrhea, constipation, and other stomach-related diseases.
- Strengthens bioavailability: One of the most beneficial effects of black pepper is that it strengthens bioavailability. Specifically, black pepper enhances the ability to absorb and transport nutrients that benefit the immune system.
- Boosting brain health: Black pepper is a rich source of manganese, iron, potassium, vitamin C, and dietary fiber which stimulate the neural pathway in the brain, boosting brain health and memorization.
- Lose weight: The component of pepper extracts the most needed nutrients from the food. The outer layers of black pepper contain phytonutrients – essential nutrition to break down fat cells in the body.
Bottom-lined, the most important component of black pepper is piperine. This chemical has many effects on the body. It can reduce pain, reduce inflammation, and other benefits to health.
Common culinary uses of black pepper
Due to its characteristics, black pepper is a versatile ingredient that is necessary for a variety of recipes such as:
- Add flavor and spice to the overall dishes like meats, fish, vegetables, salad dressings, soups, stir-fries, pasta, with hot, pungent, and aromatic flavor.
- As an ingredient in both savory and sweet preparations like fruitcakes, bread, pies to add a peppery-spice note.
- Seasoning: Black peppercorns along with other spices and seasonings used to marinate chicken, fish, and meat in restaurants and hotels.