Pepper : A Guide to the World's Favorite Spice

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Pepper has been a popular spice for more than 2,000 years and nearly every home, restaurant, grocery store throughout the world has stocks of pepper. It is the world's most produced spice, yet few people know very much about it. This all-too-common ingredient has had a profound impact on the exploration of the world; the politics of imperialism and independence; the economics of countries; the way we prepare and eat food; traditional and modern medicine. It is a difficult plant to grow, and like many other products, is produced on the backs of the working poor. This book is about pepper: a spice made from the fruit of a perennial vine native to southwest India. White, red, black and green peppercorns all come from the same plant (Piper Nigrum), not to be confused with peppers of the capsicum variety (which are native to Mexico and Central America), allspice, long pepper, cubeb pepper, melegueta pepper, shichuan or pink pepper. Even though black pepper is found in nearly every kitchen and restaurant table around the world, people know very little about it. Originating in the south of India, the Piper Nigrum vine is a product of the monsoons. The piper nigrum vine thrives in hot and humid climates with little variation in the length of the day, yet does not tolerate excessive heat or dryness. It grows within 20 degrees north and south of the equator, from sea level up to 1500 meters in elevation. In modern times it is produced in many wet equatorial regions of the world. Stubbornly hard to grow, pepper is subject to many biological threats and diseases. Economically, pepper is extremely important on both a national and local level. Pepper farming provides a livelihood for small growers, which can support a family from less than 1 hectare of plants. Planting and tending pepper plants, harvesting and processing peppercorns are labour intensive activities not well suited to mechanization, ensuring work for large numbers of people who would otherwise be unemployed. Grading of pepper varies across ISO definitions and organoleptic characteristics such as taste and pungency profiles. Most of the world's pepper is a generic commodity, with futures bought and sold in the International Pepper Exchange in Kochi, India. Some special quality peppercorns are named for the region in which they are produced (such as Tellicherry or Lampok) and have slight differences in their flavour profile, physical size, piperine and pepper oleoresin content. This book traces the complex supply chain of pepper as it make its way from the grower to the kitchens of the world, and provides short vignettes about the lives and challenges faced by people involved in the pepper trade. The use of pepper goes beyond an ingredient in foods or table condiment. Piperine, the essential oil of piper nigrum, is used in the production of perfume, notably Charlie and Poisson brands. Peppercorns and oleoresins are used in Ayuverdic and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Modern medical research has determined that pepper is a powerful pharmacological enhancer: it can improve the performance of other drugs. A small selection of recipes are used to illustrate the wide variety of uses for pepper as a historical and modern cooking ingredient. Preparing pepper by cracking, crushing and grinding with various devices is also discussed. People who read this book will reach for pepper at the table with a new found appreciation of its significance and importance. Food enthusiasts, chefs, food scientists, agronomists, history buffs and travelers will find the book highly informative, interesting to read, and well referenced for further study, should they wish to do so. Readers will learn about: -What is pepper and what is not -the uses of pepper as an ingredient in food recipes, meat preservation, a table condiment, its role in Ayuverdic and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), as well as recent pharmacological discoveries of its effect on the human body. -the history of pepper as it pertains to the exploration, exploitation and political evolution of equatorial Asia and South America -the economics of pepper at the world, country of production and producer level. -distribution of pepper, including supply chain and pepper future contracts/exchange -what it is like to be a pepper grower, exporter, speculator (vignettes/mini-case studies) -the agronomy of piper nigrum and other significant Piperaceae family species. -processing of piper nigrum into white, black, red and green pepper; pepper essential oil (piperine) and oleoresin production and use; storage and effects on quality; reprocessing old pepper. -Grading pepper quality by organoleptic, scientific, ISO evaluation and Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999. -a few recipes chosen to illustrate the different uses of pepper in charcuterie, cooking, baking, and confectionery. -implements used to crack, crush, grind and prepare pepper, including commercial cryogrinding processes.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 174 pages
  • 152 x 229mm
  • Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 7 Tables, unspecified; 12 Illustrations, black and white
  • 1442273925
  • 9781442273924

Table of contents

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Pepper in Ancient Times
Chapter 3
Pepper and Colonial Imperialism
Chapter 4
Pepper Economics
Chapter 5
Pepper for the Senses
Chapter 6
Growing Pepper
Chapter 7
Uses of Pepper
Chapter 8
Buying Pepper
Chapter 9
Cooking with Pepper
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About Joe Barth

Joe Barth is Associate Professor of School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at the University of Guelph in Ontario. Professor Barth joined the faculty in 1989 after twenty years of food and beverage management experience with Howard Johnson's, the University of Guelph and Restauronics Services (now Compass Canada Ltd.). He has also taught courses at Royal Roads University, the Cold Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (Brock University), MCI (Innsbruck) and for the Society of Management Accountants of Ontario. Joe has been a visiting professor at the Australian International Hotel School (Canberra) and at the Universidad de San Andres, Buenos Aires. Professor Barth has provided expert opinions in legal proceedings pertaining to licensed establishments and hotel contract law. He has also authored or co-authored several journal and conference papers. Joe is the HTM MBA Graduate Coordinator and President of the University Club. He is a lifetime member of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, and is the recipient of several teaching awards.
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