See also black pepper and white pepper.
has been the world's most popular spice for more than 4,000 years. The
desire for it spurred Spanish exploration and spice trade in the 15th
Ground pepper is made by crushing whole peppercorns, the dried berries of the plant Piper Nigrum
As the world's most popular spice, pepper is a universal condiment that
can give any recipe some extra zip. It has a sharp, penetrating aroma
and a hot, piney taste.
The most common varieties of ground pepper are black
the kind we’re used to seeing on the dinner table, is made from
peppercorns that are picked when not quite ripe. It has a stronger
flavor that’s slightly hot, with a hint of sweetness.
peppercorns, on the other hand, are allowed to ripen on the vine. After
harvesting, the outer husks are removed with a slow soaking in water.
The result is a smooth, light-tan colored pepper with a milder flavor.
White pepper is mainly used for appearance’s sake. It’s ideal for light
colored sauces or foods where specks of black pepper would stand out.
When shopping the grocery store or spice market, take note of the different grinds of pepper available. Typically classified as fine
, each grind enhances recipes with different levels of texture and flavor.
grind is appropriate for more delicate salad dressings, purées and
blended foods when you don’t want noticeable pepper flakes.
Medium grind is a great general-purpose pepper for seasoning fish, poultry, soups and stews
is excellent for hearty meats, thick sauces and foods where you really
want the pepper flavor to stand out. For a truly professional finish,
look for “Restaurant” pepper, a coarse, full-flavored topping for
salads, vegetable side dishes and pastas.
Store in a tightly capped container away from heat, light and moisture.
Always use a completely dry measuring spoon when dipping into the
container and replace the lid promptly. Stored properly, ground pepper
will keep for one to two years.
For the best flavor, add ground pepper to recipes at the end of
cooking. Try white pepper in mashed potatoes or creamed soups like vichyssoise
or clam chowder
. Sprinkle black pepper on steamed vegetables, tossed salads or casseroles, or mix it equally with dry mustard
and salt to make a delicious spice rub for cooking beef, pork or lamb
roasts. A pinch can also add unique depth to spice cake and gingerbread