Peppercorn usually known as pepper is a spice that today is underrated for it easily available almost in each and every part of the world. However, according to historical data, there is proof that pepper was so precious at one time that it was used as currency for trading. It was so precious that most of the
It was so precious that most of the 15th-century sea expeditions that were carried out were done to discover alternative trade routes to the far east countries as pepper was native to these lands.
Pepper is magic spice which is used to flavor almost everything from sweet to savory; it also has great medicinal values as it stimulates gastric juices and improves digestion.
Did you know that peppercorn is a fruit? Similar to berries peppercorns grow in clusters such as that of grapes. The pepper plant (Piper nigrum) is actually a vine from the Piperaceae family. It can grow up to 13 feet in height and is native to South India and parts of Indonesia. Peppercorns come in three varieties black, white and green. All three are harvested at different points in growth to attain the color. Here is more about them –
The most common are the black peppercorn which is the slightly unripe berry, its first boiled and then dried in the sun which results in shriveling up of the skin turning it black and brown in color. Out of the three, this is the strongest in flavor. The best black peppers are the Tellicherry and the Lampong.
White pepper is the seed of the pepper plant, from which the dark outer layer of the fruit is removed. This is done by a process called retting in which the ripe fruit is soaked in water and then rubbed which results in the removal of the outer layer. White pepper has an intense flavor and is usually used in preparing cream sauces and light colored stuff where black pepper would be prominent to show up.
Green pepper is the unripe fruit of the pepper plant. It’s usually preserved in brine or vinegar to keep them fresh for as long as possible. Green pepper is most commonly used in Asian and Thai dishes for its spicy, fresh and bright aroma.
There also exists red and orange peppers which are the ripe pepper fruits preserved in brine or vinegar similar to green pepper. Another variety called the pink pepper is mistaken for belonging to the pepper family, they are derived from the Peruvian pepper tree or the Brazilian pepper tree, and however, in reality, these belong to the cashew family and may even cause allergies.
It’s also called pseudo pepper Pink peppercorns are soft, fragile berries with a sweet-sharp flavor. Sichuan pepper is the berry of the mountain ash tree, with a pungent, cold flavor instead of the usual heat of a peppercorn.
Pepper gets its spiciness from an alkaloid present in it called piperine. As of 2013, Vietnam is the largest producer of pepper followed by Indonesia and India. India’s Malabar pepper is famous worldwide for its strong flavor.
This was the complete guide to peppercorn and its types.