The healthful black peppercorn has a long history almost as rich as its taste. Often referred to as the “King of Spices” and “Black Gold” by ancient traders, black peppercorns date all the way back to 1303-1213 BC when they were found stuffed into the mummified body of Ramses the Great and used as a preservative.
Made from dried berries from the vine Piper nigrum that is native to India, peppercorns have always been considered valuable throughout history and were even once used as currency in ancient Greece. In an effort to keep marauders from infringing on the lucrative pepper trade, fanciful tales were concocted by cultivators to keep outsiders away from their pepper crops. Tales of poisonous snakes and even dragons that guarded the precious plants were told as truths to protect the valuable spice.
Even today, peppercorns are still one of the most popular spices throughout the world. The peppery bite, from its active ingredient called peperine, is popular in all cultures for its culinary use, but also for many other uses including various health issues that benefit from using the spice, an excellent pest repellant for use in the garden and home, and so much more!
Health Benefits of Black Peppercorn
In addition to its great taste, black peppercorn is also known for the variety of health benefits it offers. First, pepper is rich in vitamins and minerals making it a truly healthy condiment.
The popular spice is loaded with vitamins A, C, and K as well as a variety of minerals including thiamin, pyridoxine, riboflavin, folic acid, choline, copper, iron, calcium, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc. Here are some of the other intriguing benefits of black peppercorns:
- High in antioxidants
- Recognized as an anti-inflammatory
- Proven to improve brain function in animals in recent studies
- Improves blood sugar metabolism
- Lowers cholesterol
- Research has indicated it may have cancer-fighting properties
- Inspires gut health
- Offers pain relief
- Successful for appetite control
Popular Uses for Black Peppercorn Today
The black peppercorn is processed in a variety of ways, which results in different types of peppers, giving many different uses and flavor profiles. Black and green pepper comes from the dried and cooked unripe fruit however, the white pepper comes from seeds from the ripened fruit of the plant.
While they can be used whole or ground, it is better to purchase whole peppercorns, as the grinding process is known to reduce the nutritional content. It is also important to store the peppercorns properly in order to obtain the maximum benefits of the pepper, which is in an airtight glass container in a cool, dry, and dark place.
In addition to the plethora of health benefits and divine peppery flavor for cooking, there are some other uses for this popular spice. Its anti-microbial traits make it a good food preservative, and it is often used with meat. Black pepper can also be added to your laundry to keep colored clothes bright! Simply add a teaspoon of pepper to your next load of laundry for results! And, it may surprise you to know that black pepper is a natural pest repellant, which works well in the garden for protecting plants from bothersome insects as well as inside your home for when those pesky ants attempt to invade.
From seasoning your favorite dish and plenty of medical benefits to keeping your laundry bright and repelling insects, black pepper has been a staple throughout the world for centuries and continues to be one of the most popular spices today.