Tuesday, October 13, 2009
The most important place in a household is the 'Kitchen'. Many may not be aware that a variety of ingredients which have medicinal qualities to heal and to cure health maladies are readily available with us at a stretch of our hand. Let us go through the same with Peppercorns.
The black powdered peppercorns are visible everywhere including food courts. The exploration of the world started with the accumulation of spices, to start with 'peppercorns'. This was considered as belonging only to the rich people and was as valuable as money. It was also legal trading currency during medieval times. India ranks among the top producer of peppercorns in the world. The emergence of pepper started almost 4000 years ago and is widely cultivated in the Malabar coast in India. They are the seed berries of Piper Nigrum (Piper means plant in Latin and Nigrum meaning black).
White and green peppercorns are seeds of the same variety growing in clusters. This vine is usually twined on huge trees and takes a full seven years to go into full production. The clusters are picked and separated and dried to get black peppercorns. To get the white ones, they are usually picked and dried when the berries are about to turn 'red'. They are soaked in water for almost a week when their outer covering becomes soft and easily removed to expose the while corn inside.
The raw green pepper is reaped while it is still tender and great when pickled with brine. It retains the pungence while accommodating the salt. Peppercorns when boiled in water with little jaggery added to reduce the pungent taste will produce a good concoction to be taken for sore throat and cough. The concotion to really get the flavour, should be made to stand and cool for sometime before consumed.
Peppercorns are also digestive stimulants and a good rememdy for digestive problems. Freshly ground black pepper mixed with little water when sprayed on plants relieves the plants of insects which feed upon them. Powdered pepper mixed with salt relieves inflammation of the gums. White pepper when ground and applied to the scalp will give relief to one's dandruff problems, of course there will be a slight burning sensation which will becoming soothing after sometime.
Most of the recipes have powdered or whole peppercorns in them. So, now when you think of spicing up your food, instead of the usual red chillies, add pepper.
When you take things for granted, the things you are granted, get taken. (Phil Hennessy)