Throughout history, pepper has been called the King of Spices. Pepper is still popular all around that world and, here in the U.S., we consumed more than 100 million pounds of it last year alone!
Peppercorns, which are really berries, grow on vines and come from places like India and Indonesia. It's the oldest and most widely used spice, dating back thousands of years.
So valued was it that during the Middle Ages peppercorns were often used as currency, medicine and even as an insect repellant! Of course, today our favorite way to enjoy peppercorns is ground in and over our foods.
Available in green, white, and black, peppercorns are all the same seed of the same plant in different stages of maturity.
- Green peppercorns are the unripe version, milder and sweeter than black pepper, so they're good for soups, stocks and salad dressings.
- White peppercorns are mature berries with the outer skin removed. Their mild taste and light color blend well with cream sauces, rice, pasta, fish, chicken and pork.
- Most common are the strong-flavored zesty black peppercorns, mature in size but not quite ripe.
- Want exotic? Try exciting pink peppercorns from Madagascar. They are used when a different look and pepper flavor are desired, even though they come from a type of rose plant and are not actually true peppercorns at all.
- For the most pungent pepper flavor, freshly grind whole peppercorns; pre-ground pepper loses its intensity fairly quickly after grinding. And all types of peppercorns work great in food as well as garnishing the edges of our plates. Talk about fancy!
No matter which is our favorite grind, color or strength of peppercorn..."OOH IT'S SO GOOD!!"