Last updated: August 19, 2021

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Thank you very much for visiting us again and a warm welcome! This time, we want to give a different flavour to your reading. That is why we are going to be commenting on one of the most used spices around the world; black pepper.

Black pepper is an ancestral plant that grows in tropical and humid places, this gives it an unmistakable spicy flavour, exceptional for both sweet and savoury foods. Not only that! Black pepper has healing and stimulating powers on the intestinal flora. It is undoubtedly a superfood.

If you want to enjoy the countless benefits of black pepper in your body and in your preparations, this article is for you! We will be informing you where you can get the best and at what price, its advantages, disadvantages and you will learn how to compare the different types to choose the one you like the most.




Summary

  • Black pepper is a type of berry extracted from a plant called Piper nigrum. It is a fruit that when left to dry and ferment, is very popular for gastronomic preparations and has countless benefits for your health.
  • Make no mistake! There is only one black pepper. Within this type of pepper, we can find many subcategories, mainly according to their origin, which will make this condiment vary in flavour and aroma. The most widely consumed varieties are Asian, with Tellicherry and Vietnamese being the most widely consumed.
  • To choose the best black pepper, pay attention to its presentation. We recommend always choosing whole-grain pepper to keep its properties intact. Also, depending on your tolerance to spiciness, you can choose different varieties of this product that are more or less spicy. This and other factors are discussed below.

The best Black Pepper: Our Picks

Buying guide: What you need to know about black pepper

Regardless of the product you want, it is always necessary to make an informed purchase. Especially this product that is used in our food. Making the best purchase will not only help you to eat healthy and tasty, but can also improve your health. In the following guide, we will present you with all the information about black pepper.

The best aroma and taste of black pepper is shown when freshly ground and heated (Photo: Author / 123rf.com)

What is black pepper and what are its benefits?

Black pepper is a berry plant, which grows in the form of a flowering spike. It takes about six months to mature. Its fruits are used to season food and it is an inseparable companion of salt. Its taste is slightly spicy and the more the plant matures, the more spicy it becomes.

The opposite is true for its aroma, which reaches a peak: if the plant matures beyond this time, its aroma begins to diminish by at least half. This spice has the advantage of being suitable for most foods, whether sweet or savoury. It also has many beneficial properties for our health.

Advantages
  • Promotes digestion
  • its oil is anticarcinogenic and antioxidant
  • helps to heal varicose veins, uterus, bladder, liver disorders and haemorrhoids
  • suitable for sweet and savoury foods
Disadvantages
  • Loses its flavour quickly
  • may cause flatulence
  • may cause gastritis or heartburn in sensitive people
  • not suitable for those suffering from irritable bowel and other stomach symptoms.

Vietnamese black pepper or Tellicherry - what to look out for?

Depending on the geographical origin of the black pepper, we can find slightly different characteristics. Although many countries are producers of this fruit, we can highlight the following places as the most popular, because they have a tropical and humid climate, producing berries with great flavour and aroma.

Vietnamese. This is the most popular traditional black pepper at the moment. This black pepper is characterised by normal aroma and flavour levels that are useful for everyday meals. It is also ideal for when people have sensitive stomachs and can't handle such strong flavours.

Tellicherry. From the Malabar coast in India, it is one of the best quality peppers, harvested a little earlier than traditional black pepper; therefore, its colour is slightly browner and its aroma is above average as well as its taste.

Vietnamese Tellicherry
Origin Vietnam India
Flavour Normal spiciness Intense spiciness
Aroma Delicate aroma Penetrating aroma
Ideal for White and red meats Stews and sauces

Is black peppercorns or ground pepper better?

The experts recommend that black pepper should always be in grains and ground at the time of use. Regardless of which type you like best, they lose their flavour quickly if left unused for too long. The recommendation is to keep them in a dry, dark place and grind them on the spot.

The colour of the pepper varies according to its level of maturity. (Featured image photo: Parinya Feungchan / en.123rf.com)

Buying criteria

Finally, we would like to share with you the key factors you need to take into account when quoting for black pepper. This will help you to evaluate the different types of black pepper that the market has to offer, so that you can choose the best one immediately and select the perfect product for you.

Storage

Because the trade in this product is so extensive, there are different ways of selling pepper. Some places prefer it in bulk, ground or packaged. As mentioned above, it is best to store peppercorns in grains to be ground at the time of use.

Prefer screw-top containers that can be easily stored for up to six weeks. Another special option for green pepper is to store it airtight in a screw-top jar so that it can be used again. Always make sure that storage provides freshness and darkness to the product.

Grinders should keep black pepper in the dark, in a cool and dry place. (Featured image photo: Fxxu / pixabay.com)

Colours

It is normal to get confused when talking about pepper, especially because all types of pepper are part of black pepper. This refers exclusively to the ripening time of the fruit of the Piper Nigrum plant. Depending on the variety you choose, you will achieve different levels of spiciness and flavour in your food.
White pepper. This is the variety of pepper that is made when the fruit or berries are fully ripe. They are left to dry and as soon as the skin has been removed, their soft, white, inner colour can be appreciated. It is the spiciest of all but lacks aromatic properties.
Black pepper. It is the best known and most used in gastronomy. The berry is extracted before it ripens, after the drying process, the skin is kept and they are ready to be marketed. They have a slightly spicy but very subtle flavour. Ideal as an accompaniment to all foods.
Green pepper. In this type of pepper, the unripe fruit is used. For this reason, unlike the previous types, it is rarely ground. It is usually kept in brine or vinegar for preservation and its spiciness is much milder, but tasty.

Presentation

The quality of a pepper is greatly affected by the way it is marketed. This can directly affect the taste, aroma and properties of this fruit. A tasteless black pepper creates a rather unpleasant taste. To avoid this, always choose the variety that suits you best.

Ground. Black pepper contains piperine, which gives it its spicy taste. This substance is present in the shell, therefore, when ground this substance is lost and the pepper loses its aroma and flavour faster and faster. It is also susceptible to being mixed with flour or other elements.

Whole. Whole black pepper is the best quality, it is recommended to grind it as soon as it is to be used, as its properties come to light specifically when it is heated. It is important to store it in a dark, cool and dry place so that it maintains its characteristics for longer.

Crushed. This is the most misleading variety as it may include grains of poor quality. This is evidenced by broken grains, empty husks, among others. However, if its quality is good, it can maintain flavours, create textures and is perfect for seasoning meats.

Quality

Because black pepper is a condiment used worldwide and on a regular basis, there are many producers and marketers of this product. Therefore, there is often confusion and unscrupulous strategies with the sole purpose of selling. Here are the techniques that will help you choose the best one.

Colour. Contrary to popular belief, the true colour of black pepper is not black. When it has this dark tone in its entirety, it is considered to be of low quality. Ideally, the rind of the fruit should have a dark brown colour with very subtle black tints.

Additional supplements. There are some producers who sell their products as black pepper, without specifying its characteristics, origin, etc. This is especially true for ground peppers, which are often mixed with flour or starch, resulting in a grey appearance, no aroma and no taste.

(Featured image source: Julia Sudnitskaya / pixabay.com)

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