Pepper is the third most used recipe ingredient in the world. Third only to salt and water. Americans eat approximately .25 pound of pepper a year. But where did pepper originate? Pepper originated in Kerala, India. The region is known for its twin monsoon. The heavy rains are important for the fragile fruits of the peppercorn plant. Other regions in the world grow pepper but Kerala reigns supreme in its quality and dominates the high end of the market. Pepper an essential in Indian food also had early medicinal value. Valued as a digestive stimulus and expectorant. Used externally to relieve skin afflictions and hives.

In classical Rome pepper was an article of commerce. After the decline of the Roman Empire Europeans still cherished pepper. The monetary allure of pepper brought the Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama and his crew to Calicut, India in 1498. This was the first direct sea voyage from Europe to Asia. Shortly, there after other European trading companies followed.

The spice trade and exploration was competitive. The Spaniards wanted to acquire peppercorns and other exotic spices. They sent Christopher Columbus to find a route to the Indies via the west. Instead of finding a route to India Christopher Columbus founded the Americas. Trying to convince his financial supporters that he had succeeded, he named the natives of the new world, Indians and their chiles “red” pepper. Christopher Columbus was not able to bring any peppercorn back to Spain but did discover a New World and his newly names red pepper. To this day there is an confusion about these two spices.

History has shown that the peppercorn has been used as a condiment and currency. In Europe pepper was used mainly for food. In the middle ages Europe meat was heavily salted with pepper for preservation and to kill the stench of decay. Pepper was expensive and was used in lieu of money for rent, dowry and taxes. Then pepper was referred to as, “peppercorn rent”. Because there was not enough pepper it became associated with gold. Today, poor families in Asia save pepper as a commodity. Pepper did not become affordable to the common man until the 19th century. Prior to that time only the rich could afford pepper. We never consider that the fruits of the peppercorn and other spices were a factor in shaping world history. Pepper was not only a spice but centuries ago a commodity so valuable that it was called, “Black Gold”.

Applebee’s CopyCat Honey Black Sauce for Salmon

Ingredients:
3/4 cup honey
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
4 (8 ounce) salmon fillets (without skin)

Directions:

Make the sauce by combining all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium/low heat. Stir occasionally until sauce begins to boil, then simmer uncovered for 15 minutes or until syrupy. Watch the sauce closely to be sure it doesn't bubble over. Preheat barbecue grill to medium heat. Rub each salmon filet with vegetable oilScience Articles, then add a light sprinkling of salt and pepper. Grill the salmon for 4 to 7 minutes per side or until done. Serve salmon with a small cup of the honey pepper sauce on the side.