Long pepper was once widely used in cooking, even in ancient Rome, to induce a pungent taste to various dishes.
There seems to be a renewed interest in this spice for its unique flavour and taste. The taste lingers in the tongue. While black pepper stings, long pepper soothes. The spikes of long pepper are grounded or broken into coarse pieces and added to soups, stews, roasts and curries. It imparts complex mix of flavours like the earthiness of nutmeg, sweet note of cardamom and cinnamon, the spiciness of chillies, the heat of black pepper and a slight tongue-numbing taste, somewhat like that of winged prickly ash.
It is bitter, spicy and warming taste is perhaps due to its volatile, fragrant oils and alkaloids like piplatine, sesenine and pipla-sterol.
In northeast India it is also used to spice up pickles and preserves, giving them a distinctive aroma and flavour.