PEPPER BLACK WHOLE: The Malabar Peppercorn is an exotic, yet familiar flavor which makes it the perfect seasoning for all foods.
INTERESTING FACTS: Malabar Peppercorn is named from the town in South India where it is derived from. Dried, ground pepper is one of the most common spices in European cuisine and its descendants, having been known and prized since antiquity for both its flavor and its use as a medicine. The spiciness of black pepper is due to the chemical piperine. Black, White and Green Pepper are derived from the same fruit. Black pepper is produced from the still-green unripe berries of the pepper plant. The berries are cooked briefly in hot water, both to clean them and to prepare them for drying. The heat ruptures cell walls in the fruit, speeding the work of browning enzymes during drying. The berries are dried in the sun or by machine for several days, during which the fruit around the seed shrinks and darkens into a thin, wrinkled black layer around the seed. Once dried, the fruits are called black peppercorns. Black pepper was a well-known and widespread, if expensive, seasoning in the Roman Empire. It is said that both Attila the Hun and Alaric the Visigoth demanded from Rome a ransom of more than a ton of pepper when they besieged the city in 5th century A.D. After the fall of Rome, others took over the middle legs of the spice trade, first Byzantium and then the Arabs. By the end of the Dark Ages, the central portions of the spice trade were firmly under Islamic control. Once into the Mediterranean, the trade was largely monopolized by Italian powers, especially Venice and Genoa. The rise of these city-states was funded in large part by the spice trade. (Wikipedia.com) Archives depict a 3rd-century cookbook probably based at least partly on one from the 1st century CE, includes pepper in a majority of its recipes. Pepper has been used as a spice in India since prehistoric times. Peppercorns were a much prized trade good, often referred to as black gold and used as a form of commodity money. The term peppercorn still exists today.