Let's Talk About - Peppercorns
Peppercorn is the name used to describe the fruit of the Piper nigrum plant, also known as Black Pepper. Both whole and ground, peppercorns are used by many for both culinary and traditional medicine purposes.
Black Pepper is the world's most traded spice and you'd be hard pressed to find someone who has never heard of it!
Due to the chemical compound piperine, peppercorns have a spicy heat that is different from other spices such as chilli. It is less intense, and provides a more subtle warmth when consumed.
Pepper loses this flavour and aroma through evaporation and exposure to sunlight, so as with most tea, it is better to store in an airtight container out of direct sunlight.
This plant is native to South Asia and South East Asia, with Vietnam being the word's largest producer and exporter. Historically, Peppercorns were so highly valued that they were often referred to as "back gold" and was used in some places as a form of currency.
They were also found in the nostrils of mummies in Egypt, was an uncommon and expensive item in Ancient Greece and was considered "a favourite ingredient of the most expensive Roman cookery" in Ancient Rome. Pretty fancy for what good ol' Black Pepper!
Like many herbs and spices, Peppercorns found themselves in traditional and folk medicines. They have their own nutritional and medicinal properties, but you should consult with a qualified and licensed practitioner should you require further information regarding these.
Peppercorns helps bring warmth to our Orange Chai, alongside other spices such as Cardamom and Cloves. Give it a try, it may have you looking at that Pepper on the table a little differently!