The small and larger history of pepper and pepper mill
“The salt of life is in the pepper we put in it. ”, – Alphonse Allais, French writer and journalist (1854-1905)
Black pepper is such a common seasoning today that it is hard to believe that it was once used as a currency and was even a tool of power almost as valuable as gold.
Originally from India, it has quite a history: it has been used as currency, to pay taxes, as money, and even as dowry and ransom. It was discovered over 4,000 years ago and cultivated 1,000 years before the Christ era. Pepper reached Southeast Asia 2,000 years ago and was later cultivated in Malaysia and Indonesia.
Only the fruits of piper nigrum, piper longum, and piper cubeba can be called pepper. In France, only pepper from the piper nigrum plant can be called pepper and the whole thing is governed, still today, by a very strict law.
The third most common ingredient in recipes, it is used around the world to enhance the taste of many dishes, from appetizers to desserts. Irreplaceable in pepper steak, divine with strawberries drizzled with aniseed liqueur or vodka, magical on smoked fish—pepper can be found on all the counters of self-respecting epicures.
The Pepper of the Mill: Essential
The world’s greatest chefs are unanimous: the whole peppercorn is essential for a seasoning that meets the rules of the art.
Black, green, and white peppers all contain piperine. Piperine is believed to have positive effects on blood pressure, and according to the Central Food Technological Research Institute, this ingredient promotes better digestion and accelerates gastrointestinal transit.