Pepper our King of Spices with an unimagined varieties in its type. Did you know that? What is pepper? We immediately think of the black pepper. It is the most used spice alongside salt and sometimes referred to as the king of spices. By definition, pepper is the dried fruit of a tropical tendril plant. Its scientific name is Piper nigrum, and it belongs to the pepper family (Piperaceae), which has about 700 species. For additional reference, the pepper carries the name of the geographical origin. So that's not why pepper is pepper. There are many differences, not only in the source but also in appearance and taste. This spice is not always black.
Did you know that black, white, and green peppercorns come from the same plant? Its color depends on the time of harvest and the subsequent processing. So you get either black, reddish-brown, white, green, or even red pepper and that from a single plant.
The green peppercorns are unripe pepper berries. These are available in four forms on the market. You can sometimes find them as whole fruit stands, freeze-dried, air-dried, or pickled in brine. In our Online Spice Store, you will find, for example, the green pepper from Cameroon freeze-dried and the green Indian pepper air-dried. These varieties are ideal for the preparation of Thai dishes. They also go well with duck, game, in the typical pepper sauce with steak or other cream sauces.
The black peppercorns are also unripe pepper berries. However, harvested at a somewhat later time than the green ones. It is harvested when the first stone fruits of the 10 cm long ear begin to turn yellow. In the next step, they free the berries from the panicles.
On the first night after the harvest, the originally green outer shell of the grain turns black. It happens due to the fermentation of its enzymes. The next day, drying begins either directly under the sun or with artificial heating systems in so-called drying rooms. It takes about a week to dry. During the drying time, the grains are turned over more often so that they dry evenly. Moisture would reduce quality. The grains would otherwise start to mold, which makes them unsaleable.
The production of white peppercorns is more complicated. For this reason, white pepper is also more expensive than black in the trade. For this variety, they harvest the berries when fully ripe. It means that the original green pepper berries have turned orange to red. The next step is to remove the outer shell from the core. There are two different methods for this step.
You fill the pepper into bags after harvesting. These sacks are placed in a stream with running water for about two weeks. So the outer shell peels off by soaking, and the white grain remains.
You boil the pepper berries in water for 20 minutes. As a result, the outer shell of the berries bursts open. Then they are washed in baskets in the flowing water. They rub the grains together until the outer shell has wholly loosened. The heart of the pepper remains.
In the last step, the white pepper dries like the black pepper under the sun or in drying rooms.
Particular types of pepper - plants profile - cultivation countries