A Guide to Pepper
Black, white, red, and green peppercorns are all fruits of the same evergreen climbing vine, harvested at different times and handled in different ways.
Pepper originates from a simple vine growing off of India's Malabar coast and today, it's cultivated in Malabar, other areas of India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brazil, and Madagascar.
The two main varieties, classified by where they're grown on the Malabar coast, are Malabar and Tellicherry. Tellicherry is considered the best and largest of the two berries. Malabar is the most common of the two, with an arguably better, fruitier flavor. Tellicherry is of higher quality, with sweet, citrus notes.
A Quick Guide to Peppercorns
Note: Harvested when green, then fermented and dried.
Note: Harvested before ripe and either packed in brine or dried.
Note: Rare and expensive, left on vine the longest to fully ripen
Though humble in origin, pepper has been the reason for lengthy sailing expeditions, drawn-out wars, and the carving out of trade routes throughout history.
At one point in time, pepper was used to pay taxes and traded for gold.
Along with salt, pepper is the most continuously used spice in the world, with endless applications.
1. In a blender, purée black peppercorns with olive oil to make a pepper paste for cooked pasta and grains.
2. Sprinkle ground white pepper on boiled potatoes and serve with sour cream and smoked haddock.
3. Sprinkle ground green peppercorns on sliced seedless green grapes, and serve with grilled lamb chops.