The plant piper longum is a flowering vine that is a bit of a climber, and the pepper itself is thought to have aphrodisiac qualities, when applied to the skin with additional highly secretive ingredients.
There are various flavors found in the long peppers - cardamom, nutmeg, fine chocolate, and a hint of coriander, among others and they can be used as an alternative to pepper. Often used in pickles, it has remained a favorite ingredient in Indian, Indonesian and Malay cuisine. Being more diverse and pungent than normal black pepper, it is one of the rock stars of the pepper world.
|Common Uses||Crush it with a mortar and pestle and allow the sharpness to infuse into game stews, curries, vegetarian, and slow food recipes.|
|History||The first reference to long pepper comes from ancient Indian textbooks of Ayurveda, where its medicinal and dietary uses are described in detail. It reached Greece in the sixth or fifth century BCE, though Hippocrates discussed it as a medicament rather than a spice. Among the Greeks and Romans and prior to the European rediscovery of the American Continents, long pepper was an important and well-known spice. The ancient history of black pepper is often interlinked with (and confused with) that of long pepper, though Theophrastus distinguished the two in the first work of botany. The Romans knew of both and often referred to either as just piper; Pliny erroneously believed dried black pepper and long pepper came from the same plant. Round, or black pepper, began to compete with long pepper in Europe from the twelfth century and had displaced it by the fourteenth. The quest for cheaper and more dependable sources of black pepper fueled the Age of Discoveries; only after the discovery of the American Continents and of chili pepper, called by the Spanish pimiento, employing their word for long pepper, did the popularity of long pepper fade away. Chili peppers, some of which, when dried, are similar in shape and taste to long pepper, were easier to grow in a variety of locations more convenient to Europe. Today, long pepper is a rarity in general commerce.|