5 Recipes with Peppers and Other Information

All you need to know about peppers

| October/November 1999

  • Grains of paradise, Szechuan peppers, cubeb peppers, and black peppercorns are combined with cumin seed, whole cloves, cardamom seed, rose buds, ginger, coriander seed, cinnamon, mace blades, and black cumin seed to make a versatile spice blend that adds bite to cheese.


Sweet Spice BlendChinese Five-Spice BlendMoroccan Spice BlendPreparing peppercorns
Try those blends with this recipe
Norwegian Apple Pie Cake

During the Middle Ages, black pepper (Piper nigrum) was so valuable, it was placed in the hands of the pharmacists, who doled out the peppercorns to prescription holders who had the gold to pay for them. Ransoms and conquering soldiers were paid in peppercorns. The amount of black pepper people owned was a measure of their wealth and “liquidity,” and the search for this highly prized spice was one of the motivations for Christopher Columbus to set sail. And as so often happens when there’s not enough of the real thing to go around, for several hundred years, the mania for black pepper led to the use of less costly spices with similar flavor—pepper alternatives that remain in use to this day.

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