A very popular salad dressing here in the United states, ranch dressing is probably the genius ingredient you need to transform your creamy rice casserole into an exciting one.
While there are so many varieties of ranch dressing mostly subtle and cool, one specific variant called the Peppercorn ranch adds a bit of spicy kick to whatever you’re adding it to. How much spice it adds is what a lot of people wonder!
In this article, we’ll explore exactly how spicy or hot the peppercorn ranch is in order to help you determine whether or not it’s the best fit for your next dip, casserole or salad dressing project.
Here’s How Spicy A Peppercorn Ranch Is
Peppercorn ranch is only mildly spicy and it’s due to the addition of a small quantity of finely ground black peppercorn. The mild spiciness of the black peppercorn can be attributed to the fact that it is ground finely which leads to a great loss in the aromatics and spiciness.
Now don’t get it wrong, there are many brands of peppercorn ranch that use a blend of more than one variety of peppercorns in order to deliver that spicy kick at the end of every bite.
Some brands, also, opt for added ingredients such as hot sauce or chilli to level up the amount of heat supplied by the peppercorn ranch.
This is so as to cater for the existing population of audience that love to feel spiciness in food articles.
How Much Peppercorn Is In Peppercorn Ranch Dressing?
The truth is, you cannot estimate the exact amount of peppercorn added to a peppercorn ranch that isn’t homemade (which typically have between 1-3 teaspoons of the pepper or even more depending on personal preference).
Peppercorn ranch is produced by many brands of foods and these brands can add in varying quantities of peppercorn to their ranch dressing depending on the intended application of the dressing or its target audience.
Overall, if you taste a brand of peppercorn ranch that has a bold, stronger flavor, then it likely has more peppercorns added to it (and probably other spice inducing ingredients [or even varieties of peppercorn] too) than a peppercorn that tastes mild.
If you’re keen to know how much peppercorn is added to your bottle of ranch dressing, you can always push an email to the manufacturer of the product or check the labelling to see if you can get some information there.
What Type Of Peppercorn Is Used For Peppercorn Ranch?
Most at times, black peppercorns are added to ranch dressings that are labelled“Peppercorn Ranch Dressing” because of their sharp, citrusy and floral notes which aren’t as pronounced in other types of peppercorns.
Black peppercorns are usually crushed or ground (either finely or coarsely) before added to the ranch dressing.
The degree of fineness dictates the level of thickness of the final product as well as the degree of micro crunch it would have.
What are black peppercorns?
Black peppercorns are the unripe fruit of the black pepper plant that are cooked, dried and then ground to different levels of coarseness.
Black peppercorns start out as green peppercorns (or unripe fruit) which have less amount of the spice inducing compound called piperine in them but still happen to bear a little more spiciness compared to white peppercorns because they maintain their skins during processing (which also contains some of the heat inducing compound) while the latter doesn’t.
The green fruits are then cooked in hot water to remove dirt on them and then sun or machined dried until they develop a black appearance. Finally, they are crushed and packaged as spices.
Now some brands of peppercorn ranch can have white peppercorns used instead of black peppercorns or even have the green or pink varieties used instead, which are all not as sharp in terms of spiciness as the black peppercorns: for the white peppercorn mostly because of the fermentation and deskinning it undergoes, and the green and pink peppercorns partly because they aren’t heated during processing which means a lot of their cells remain intact (even after grinding) which leads to less of the piperine compound being released when they are consumed.
You can also have peppercorn ranch having a mixture of different types of peppercorns which is typically on the spicer side. Some brands also add chili peppers which have the heat inducing compound capsaicin that is 100 times hotter than refined piperine (found in processed peppercorns). This makes any ranch dressing made with them really hot.
What Are The Other Ingredients In Peppercorn Ranch?
There are a lot of ingredients used to make store-bought peppercorn ranch a success. Some of them include:
- Mayonnaise, Buttermilk, Sour Cream and Oil all of which are fat and oil based products that add creaminess, flavour and, with the exception of oil, tanginess.
- Allium such as garlic and onion powder which are added due to the fact that they affect the flavor of foods in great ways. Powdered forms are typically used so as to preserve the unique taste of the ranch dressing.
- Salt is also added in many different forms to affect flavor and serve as a preservative.
- Peppers such as peppercorns and other types of peppers can be added to affect the spiciness of the ranch and also give it a unique and signature flavor.
- Herbs are also another staple added to peppercorn ranch dressing to add strong, bold notes. Herbs are also added dried (because they work better) and the most commonly added spices include dill, parsley and chives.
Some peppercorn ranch can also have cheese added to them to affect flavor and texture. Popular cheeses added include parmesan, romano and asiago cheese, and popular brands that offer the cheese varieties include Marie’s and Wish-bone.
Other ingredients added into the mix may not do much in terms of adding flavors to the ranch dressing, but their presence can be vital for the preservation of the product as well as building and maintaining its quality.
Such products include stabilisers, pH balancers, thickeners, solvents, colorants and preservatives.