Black pepper is one of the most popular spices worldwide. Just a pinch can add extra flavor to almost any type of recipe.
About Black Pepper
Black pepper comes from the berries of the pepper plant. There are three colors of peppercorns which completely dependent on the developing process. Black, green and white peppercorns come from the same pepper plant.
Black pepper is dried out peppercorns. Black pepper gives the most popular and the most flavorful. You can find black pepper in almost every grocery store and market. Black pepper can be found as whole or cracked peppercorns or in powder form.
Green pepper is the least ripe which indicates the color. Green pepper can be used in soups, steak marinades, and sauces.
White peppercorns are fully ripe and mature. To retrieve the white peppercorn, they are soaked in water to remove their dark outer shell. This process will leave the remains of the white pepper seed. White pepper is known for its sharp bite and is commonly used in many Asian dishes.
- Contains antioxidants
- Aids digestion
- Natural diuretic
- Weight control
Black pepper has shown to have powerful antioxidant effects. This pungent spice contains a phytonutrient called piperine. Piperine protects your LDL (good cholesterol) from oxidizing and also increases your glutathione in the liver.
Glutathione is an internal antioxidant found in virtually every cell of the body and is used to help the liver’s detoxification process. Glutathione also has antibiotic properties which help steer away unwanted bacteria.
Black pepper’s nutrients also contain digesting-enhancing properties. Hydrochloric acid in the stomach helps to break down food proteins as well as other food components that you consume. Since black pepper contains piperine, the hydrochloric acid secretion moves faster in your stomach which then in return helps speed up the process of digestion.
Black pepper also contains natural diuretic properties. A substance called carminitive helps to get rid of those gastrointestinal build -ups of gas. By consuming black pepper you might be able to reduce your bloating and intestinal gas.
Promotes a Healthy Weight Control
Black pepper is low in calories. 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper contains only 6 calories. The outer layer of black pepper (peppercorn) furthermore helps to breakdown fat cells which can keep you slim and give you energy to burn. Also black pepper has been shown to promote sweating (diaphoretic).
The Best Way to Store Black Pepper
Black pepper is found either powder form, whole or cracked peppercorns. Black pepper is available year -round and can be found in nearly every grocery store or market. It’s recommend to buy organic black pepper at your local farmer’s market if available.
You should store black pepper in a tightly sealed glass container in a cool, dark place such as your kitchen cabinet. The shelf life of whole peppercorns can be up to one year. On the other hand, ground pepper is fresh for about three months.
The Best way to Cook with Black Pepper
When cooking with black pepper, you should add it closer to the end of your cooking process or after your dish is already finished. If black pepper is cooked for too long, this will decrease the flavor and aroma. If you use whole peppercorns either in your sauces, soups or stews, you should remove them before serving.
Ways to Enjoy Black Pepper
Listed Below are a few of my favorite recipes and ways to incorporate black pepper.
Tomato Soup with Black Pepper and Turmeric
This soup is perfect for that cozy night in or as a side dish for lunch or dinner.
What You Need:
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, rinsed and cut in halves
- 3 medium-sized tomatoes, rinsed and diced
- 1 cup low-sodium vegetable stock
- 1 cup water
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- ¼ minced white onion
- 2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- Pinch of sea to taste
- 1 tsp dried basil
- A pinch of freshly ground black pepper to taste
- In a pot, sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat for 1 minute until garlic and onions turn lightly brown.
- Reduce heat to low setting.
- Add in the cherry tomatoes. Mix until cherry tomatoes are soft.
- Add in the diced tomatoes, vegetable stock and water. Bring to boil on medium-high heat, then cover and let simmer on low heat for 5 minutes.
- You can may want to blend by using a blender or hand mixer until creamy or desired texture. But you can leave the soup how it is after simmer.
- Season with sea salt, black pepper and turmeric.
Baked Mahi Mahi, Halibut or Tilapia with Black Pepper
What You Need:
- 1 lb. fish fillets (wild-caught)
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp cumin powder
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 ½ tsp juice from 1 lemon
- Place fish fillets in a bowl and sprinkle with sea salt, turmeric, cumin, black pepper and garlic. Toss to coat well.
- Cover and marinate for 20 minutes in the refrigerator.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Coat the bottom of baking dish with the olive oil. Place the fish in a single layer on baking pan.
- Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes.
- The fish should be firm to the touch. Fish is done when it easily flakes with a fork.
- Sprinkle with lemon juice and serve.
Tip: I really enjoy this dish with homemade mashed potatoes or brown rice with a side of grilled mixed vegetables.
Spinach Salad with Honey Black Pepper Dressing
What You Will Need:
For the Salad
- ¾ lb. baby spinach
- 1 medium tomato, diced
- 1 avocados cubed
- ¼ lb. mushrooms thinly sliced
- 1 hard-boiled egg, cut into wedges
- ½ medium shallot, thinly sliced
For the Dressing:
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 tbsp. raw honey
- 1 tbsp. unseasoned rice vinegar
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Add spinach to a serving bowl (large enough to toss salad with dressing).
- For the dressing, add garlic, honey, vinegar, black pepper and salt and blend until fully mixed. Slowly drizzle in olive oil. Mix until well combined.
- Drizzle dressing over spinach and toss to coat. Don’t overdress, you’ll be surprised how a little dressing will go a long way. Add the remaining salad ingredients and a bit more dressing; toss to coat. (You’ll likely have dressing left over.)
- Serve and enjoy.
Other Ways to Incorporate Black Pepper
Coat your fish, chicken, or lean meat with ground pepper before cooking. You can add black pepper to any soup, salad, or dressing to enhance flavor. You can also add whole peppercorns when making a broth for added flavoring.
Points to Remember:
There are many ways you can incorporate black pepper in your meals. Remember turmeric and black pepper go hand in hand as long as you add a fat soluble to your meal such as avocado oil, olive oil or milk. Black pepper aids with digestion, is an antioxidant, can be a natural diuretic, and may help with weight control. Don’t eat a handful of black pepper to increase the special properties but add a small amount to your everyday meals.