Crushed black pepper refers to the black peppercorns, which have been crushed or pounded into a coarse powder. It can be easily prepared at home, or bought from stores. If you prepare at home, you have the advantage of acquiring the right consistency – coarse or fine – required by the recipes.
Finely crushed black pepper: Roast the whole peppercorns, cool, and then crush them into a fine powder using a blender or spice grinder. Do not crush too finely as the powder will form lumps when added to the recipe. Finely crushed pepper is perfect for marinades, stews and soups.
Coarsely crushed black pepper: Roast and cool the peppercorns, and crush them coarsely using a hand-held pepper mill or mortar-pestle. Grind them fresh just before sprinkling on salads or stir-fries.
How to select
• Avoid purchasing pre-packaged pepper powder as it will lose its volatile aromas quickly, and only the spicy hotness will remain.
• If buying pre-packaged, choose a reliable brand. Otherwise, poor quality peppercorns will be mixed when preparing the powder.
• To prepare crushed pepper at home, choose whole peppercorns that are heavy, compact and free of any blemishes.
• Just like with other dried spices, when purchasing black pepper try to select organically-grown varieties, since this will give you more assurance that it has not been irradiated. Irradiating black pepper may lead to a significant decrease in its vitamin C content.
• While buying packaged crushed peppercorn, check the expiry date and feel for lumpiness, which is a sign of moisture inside the packet.
• Crushed black pepper goes well with vegetables and fruits, cheeses, and savoury snacks too.
• It is a great addition to soups, stews, stir-fries and salads.
• Crushed pepper is an important ingredient in the preparation of Chinese fried rice recipes.
• It is also used in many home remedies.
How to store
• Crushed black pepper should be kept in a tightly sealed glass container in a cool, dark and dry place.
• Whole peppercorns will keep almost indefinitely, while crushed pepper will stay fresh for about three months.
• When crushed black pepper stimulates the taste buds, an alert is sent to the stomach to increase hydrochloric acid secretion, thereby improving digestion.
• Pepper is an excellent source of manganese, a very good source of iron and vitamin K, and a good source of dietary fibre too.
• Crushed Black pepper has long been recognised as a carminitive, a substance that helps prevent the formation of intestinal gas, perhaps because it stimulates hydrochloric acid production.
• In addition, black pepper has diaphoretic and diuretic properties, which promote sweating and urinating respectively.