- Food and Cooking
Black Pepper Muffins
The perfect spice to add to breads and muffins
Black Pepper is an ancient herbal remedy. Black pepper is a stimulant and was used to cure all manner of illness in ancient times.
The spice is ground and applied as a salve or ingested into the body. It's stimulating effect moves the bowels when eaten and heats the skin when applied in a poultice or salve.
Black pepper is also known to have antioxidant properties, may acclerate metabolism and is also thought to increase beta-endorpin and seratonin produced in the brain.
Adding it to Food
I have always been heavy handed when it comes to adding black pepper to my food (not advisable if you already have stomach or intestinal issues). I began experimenting with black pepper about 10 years ago by adding it to several of my favorite, easy muffin recipes. It added such a wonderful, spicy taste--the perfect "bite" needed for many dishes.
This spice is fine to cook with, and it's the first spice I reach for when cooking. It may be the fun of preparing fresh peppercorns with a grinder or mortar and pestle or it could be the taste and boost it adds to a basic muffin recipe but the love of black pepper has been with me most of my adult life.
It should be noted that black pepper is a good source of Vitamin K -- a vitamin often noted as being important for people over 50 and in combination with Vitamin D.
More About Black Pepper
Peppercorns are actually berries created on a pepper plant that are picked, dried and then ground into the spice we call pepper.
The pepper plant is a woody, vine that grows in humid and hot, tropical climates. Each color of peppercorn is connected to the varying stages of the fruit development on the plant-black peppercorns are the half ripe fruit/berry of the plant. The berry is not black but becomes black once picked and allowed to dry which causes the berry to shrivel into the black peppercorn we know and love.
Pepper plants produce red, black, green and white peppercorns. Pink peppercorns are from a completely different plant.
According to data on the Whole Foods website, black pepper contains the following nutrients:
- manganese 12 %
- vitamin K 8.6%
- iron 6.7%
- fiber 4.4%
- copper 2.5%
A serving of black pepper is 2 teaspoons, or 4.20 grams, of ground black pepper. Each serving has 10 calories.
You can read more about black pepper at the Whole Foods website.
Part of a Weight Loss Solution?
The peppercorn's outer layer contains substances that help break down fat cells in the body. So black pepper can claim slimming effects.
How I Make A Savory Black Pepper Muffin
I guess technically it's not a muffin if it's savory, it's more of a bread. But I use a muffin recipe to make these so there ya go.
I simply replace the required sugar with an applesauce-usually about 3 tablespoons of applesauce instead of the sugar.
You will need to experiment to see what tastes better to you-more or less applesauce--and the type of applesauce that gives you the flavor you like.
I have been using Sunflower Market's organic, plain applesauce and recently the cherry applesauce.
Applesauce, if used in small portions, does not have much of a flavor when added to a muffin recipe. I know, surprising but true. It also adds enough natural sweetness so that the muffin does not taste bland.
Other Ingredients to Add with Black Pepper
Once you have a basic muffin recipe, you can experiment endlessly with adding new flavors.
- Try adding a quarter cup of finely grated Parmesan cheese to the muffins along with the black pepper.
- Romano or cheddar are also good choices.
- Add other spices such as dried basil or oregano for an Italian flavor.
- Garlic powder is another good choice with black pepper.
How Black Pepper Works in the Body
Black pepper is a stimulant and can aid in digestion and promote the health of the intestinal track.
When ingested into the mouth, the black pepper stimulates the body to create hydrochloric acid in the stomach. Hydrochloric acid is necessary in the right amounts to initiate the digestive process. The acid helps move the food through the stomach and out of the body—not enough hydrochloric acid and food can sit in the stomach too long causing all kinds of digestive and stomach problems including heartburn.
If you have gas issues, adding black pepper to your food can help dispel the gas in the stomach and intestine.
Historical Use of Black Pepper
Because of its pungent odor and medicinal qualities, black pepper holds a prestigious place in history.
It has been used as currency, given as gifts and burned and scattered as a sacred offering.
Imagine a spice that can be used to quell and satisfy the gods and also handed over to pay your taxes
Buy Whole Black Peppercorn
I like buying whole black peppercorn in bulk.
The pungent smell fills my kitchen and makes me want to cook, bake and feed myself and others.
Using Black Pepper
- Fresh is best. Buy whole peppercorn and grind it yourself.
- I use a traditional mortar and pestle and grind what I need for a few days or dishes. I save my electric grinder for coffee.
- You might use an electric pepper grinder--a quick, fast and easy way to throw some black pepper into a recipe. Hand grinders are another easy way to keep fresh black pepper within reach.
Store Whole Peppercorns Properly
Keep peppercorns in a glass jar with a tight lid. Store the jar in a dark, cool cabinet. This keeps freshness in and moisture out.
Granite Mortar and Pestle
Using a mortar and pestle is my favorite way to grind spices, especially black pepper.
There is something about the grinding and breaking of the outershell that I connect with the great cooking.