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Chances are you have a shaker full of pepper in your kitchen and on your dining room table. Black pepper, the common type found in kitchens today, is a flowering vine which is dried and then ground into the flakes you use on your table. Peppercorns, or their seeds, are also gathered and these are sold to be used with a grinder. Black pepper is native to India but is commonly used just about anywhere and everywhere in the world today. It is the most widely traded spice in the world and accounts for some 20 % of all spice imports.


You may already enjoy pepper on certain foods or dishes; its sharp taste can add flavour to bland dishes such as eggs, fish, or certain soups.  Salt and pepper are often used together as salt enhances a food’s flavour and then pepper adds a certain kick to that flavour  The spice is so widely used you might just add it to everything on your dinner plate without thinking!  To make the most of pepper, consider some other ways it may be used in the kitchen.

Pepper can be used on beef dishes before cooking; it will mix with the melting fat and be more readily absorbed into the food as it is heated.  A bit of pepper in tomato dishes can also enhance the flavour; try it in chilli or Italian sauces during cooking.  It is also good for cooking a wide variety of vegetables, especially potatoes.

Fresh ground pepper is typically considered more potent and flavourful than pepper flakes you buy in the store.  Like grinding your coffee fresh, grinding fresh pepper will make it more aromatic and flavourful  Try fresh ground pepper on salads to give them a kick, or on cooked fish, chicken or pork.  You might also add a small sprinkle to tea, especially herbal and fruit teas, to enhance the flavour

Get experimental with pepper and try the freshly ground variety for even more flavour  You may be surprised at the foods you can enhance with pepper and how it helps to bring out the flavour of those foods.

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