Why one chef says you should NEVER use a pepper grinder

Spices always taste better when they're freshly ground, which is why tools like the pepper grinder come in handy for adding freshly ground black pepper to a dish. In addition to lasting longer, grinding spices shortly before using them releases more potent flavors and aromas.

But during a visit to the office from Robert Irivne, the celebrity chef shared why you'll never catch him using the aforementioned tool—and what you should be using instead to get the most from your peppercorns.

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10 Things You Didn't Know About Pepper
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10 Things You Didn't Know About Pepper

Check out this slideshow to learn the 10 most interesting things you don't know about pepper.

Spice: Why Does Pepper Make You Sneeze?

Sneezing is a reflex that is triggered when nerve endings inside the mucous membrane of the nose are stimulated. White, black or green pepper contains an alkaloid called piperine. Piperine irritates the nerve endings in the mucous membranes causing you to sneeze (to rid your body of the product).

Image Credit: Flickr

Spice: How Long Has Pepper Been Around?

While it's possible that black pepper was known in China around second century BCE, it made its debut in the third century AD. Black pepper was revealed in a Chinese text and referred to as reahujiao or "foreign pepper."

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Spice: Health Benefits

Peppers are rich in vitamins C and A. They are also know for their flavonoid polyphenolic anti-oxidants, compounds which help the body remove harmful free radicals and help protect from cancers and diseases.

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Spice: Peppercorns vs Previously Ground Pepper

Should you buy ground pepper or whole peppercorns to grind? The answer is whole peppercorns! In order to get the most flavor out of your pepper, grind at the time it is needed for your meal.

Image Credit: Corbis

Spice: Peppercorns as Currency

Did you know that during the Middle ages peppercorns were worth more than gold in weight? Individual peppercorns were widely accepted as a form of legal currency. Furthermore, in the Dutch language, pepedurr, which means "pepper expensive," is an expression for something very expensive.

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Spice: Where Does Pepper Come From?

The largest producer and exporter of pepper in the world is Vietnam.

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Spice: How Many Varieties of Pepper?

There are thousands of different varieties of pepper and 30 known species!

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Vegetable: Why Are Peppers Hot?

Most think the seeds are the hottest part of a hot pepper. However, it's actually the placental material surrounding the seeds, full of a compound known as capsaicin.

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Vegetable: Can Peppers Make You "Feel Good?"

Hot peppers can potentially produce a feeling of well-being or mild euphoria when consumed. Extremely hot peppers can cause the brain to release endorphins, creating a "runner's high" type of effect.

Image Credit: Getty Images

Vegetable: Bell and Chili Peppers

Did you know they are not in fact related to pepper at all? Bell peppers were dubbed as peppers when founded by Columbus upon discovering the New World. At the time of discovery, pepper was a very expensive and highly valued spice.

Image Credit: Jupiter images

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Swap your regular pepper grinder for a coffee grinder.

Irvine prefers a coffee or spice grinder, because it heats up the peppercorns while grinding, really bringing out the flavor and aromatics. According to Irvine, pepper from a regular grinder "tastes like sawdust"—and no one wants that. Start practicing on your favorite fish, chicken and side dish recipes.

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The hottest peppers in the world
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The hottest peppers in the world
The rare Naga Viper chilli is 250 times hotter than a jalapeño and cultivated in the UK. The average SHU for this spicy pepper is 1,382,118.
The infinity pepper, sometimes known as the "Ghost Chili" held the Guinness World Record title for the world's hottest chili for two weeks in February 2011. This pepper comes in at 1,067,286 average SHU. 
The Red Savina Habanero ruled the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's hottest pepper from 1994-2006. According to NMSU's Chile Pepper Institute, the average SHU is 450,000.
The Fatalii pepper brings a hint of citrus to this spicy list and, according to the Scoville Food Institute, ranges from 125,000 to 400,000 SHU.
The scotch bonnet pepper has a lot of nicknames - Boabs Bonnet, Scotty Bons, Caribbean red peppers and several others. This pepper comes in close to habanero, rating between 100,000-350,000 SHU.
The habanero pepper is fairly well known and barely cracks the top 20 hottest peppers, rated between 100,000-350,000 SHU.
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