“LJ, you are so corny,” laughed Annie. “You sneezed on purpose.”
“All of these peppercorns make me sneeze,” he exclaimed with a laugh. “I’m teaching a cooking class to my book club, and we’re making Black Pepper Tofu Pot. It uses a lot of pepper; as it turns out, peppercorn has a fascinating history, including its medicinal benefits. Like many spices and herbs, it originated in India. The spice trade from the East introduced Black Pepper and its healing properties to Europe.
“Okay, I’m sorry for doubting you, but why did you buy so much?”
LJ dropped a handful in the grinder, “the health benefits are one reason. Did you know pepper is a key ingredient in about 80% of recipes today? Many cooks appreciate its robust flavor and health benefits.”
“I did not know that, but since you include it in just about every dish you make, I am not surprised at that statistic. Tara told me she adds a pinch of black pepper in anything she is making with turmeric. Black pepper helps your body absorb curcumin, turmeric’s active ingredient that helps lower inflammation.”
“Do you mind handing me the pepper mill,” said LJ. “Yes, curcumin in turmeric is a potent anti-inflammatory, so is piperine, an active compound in black pepper. Some studies show that piperine helps clear chest congestion and improve cholesterol levels, blood sugar, brain, and gut health. Piperine also helps increase circulation and reduce swelling in joints, mitigating the effects of arthritis. It also aids the secretion of stomach juices which support easy digestion; however, piperine might also interfere with blood clotting, so peppercorn should not be eaten in amounts larger than those in food.”
Annie nodded, “that’s good advice, sweetheart, often when people learn about the health benefits of spices and herbs, they think more, and a lot must be a good thing when moderation and consistency is the healthier approach. Pepper should be part of a daily diet, but eating spoonfuls separately is not a good idea. I am curious about this variety of peppercorns. You have green, white, red, and black.”
LJ pointed, “green peppercorns are unripe. White peppercorns are slightly flavorful because they are harvested just before ripening, soaked in water that washes off the husk exposing the mild white seed. Red peppercorns are ripened green peppercorns but are not fermented, turning them black. Black peppercorns are half-ripe green peppercorns left to ferment and then dried in the sun; the drying process turns them black.
Freshly ground and immediately served peppercorns are at their nutritional best because piperine oil is released, contributing to appetite stimulation, nutrient absorption, and weight loss. The outer layer of peppercorns has phytonutrients that help break down fat cells.”
“Spicey, and it helps you lose weight too,” she said as she put the finishing touches on their salad and held it up to LJ, “You are pepper to my salt. Do you mind making a few passes with the grinder?”
“Now who’s corny,” laughed LJ.
Annie and LJ are a fictional couple. Their storyline promotes healthy eating and earth-friendly practices.