I still can’t believe that a vine grown tropical stone fruit (yes pepper is a stone fruit, who knew?) that built empires a few hundred years ago can now be bought for next to nothing at the local supermarket! Originally from India, this plant is now grown through out much of south east Asia,
The world’s most used spice is also my personal favourite, its sharp taste is different to that of chili but both are used add a spicy flavour to food. It is often paired with salt during cooking and both are commonly supplied alongside most meals.
I use three types of peppercorns (all from the same plant, see picture below, but prepared differently) but in this post I want to talk about black peppercorns as I cook with this the most.
Black peppercorns differ from green and white peppercorns in that they are harvested while still unripe and with their skins still on they are cooked and dried. Their smell is sharp and acrid as is their taste when eaten alone. I always grind my peppercorns as I go to maintain maximum flavour and pungency.
So why cook with black pepper? I am not going to pretend to know why or how but pepper reacts with the flavours in the food itself and also effects our ability to perceive said flavours. Pepper is also given credit for a raft of health benefits from being a digestive to increasing your metabolism and adding to your daily fiber needs.
Pepper vine with drupes still attached:
- see all recipes using black peppercorns here
- see all recipes using pepper here
- see all ingredients here