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Pepper Primer

Green Peppercorns

green peppercornsGreen peppercorns, which became popular in the U.S. in the 1950s, add an interesting color and a slightly fruity sharpness to foods. Frontier’s green peppercorns, from India, are sold whole. To use, soak the dried peppercorns in hot water for five minutes, then add to meat sauce or ground meat dishes, steaks, pork chops, duck, or salad dressings. Or mash with butter to serve on vegetables.

White Peppercorns

white peppercornsBecause it has a subtler, less biting flavor, white pepper can be used a bit more freely than black. Frontier’s white pepper is Muntok pepper, from the Malaysian island of Bangha. It has a deep, rich flavor and aroma and is available whole and ground. In the U.S., we use much more black pepper than white, but European cooks—who like to flavor white sauces and other light-colored dishes with it—prefer white. Fish, chicken and potato dishes are good white pepper candidates. Whole white peppercorns are good for marinades or pickles, and combined with black peppercorns in a mill. Use it a bit more liberally than black pepper: 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon per four servings of a dish, for starters.

Here's a Pot Roast recipe that celebrates black, green, and white peppercorns as grilling partners.

Non Piper-Nigrum Peppers

As you've no doubt gathered by now, not all peppers come from the Piper nigrum plant.

Cubeb pepper

Cubeb pepper, for example, comes from the Piper cubeba plant. The dry, somewhat bitter, pungent taste of the cubeb has a woody, pine-like overtone. Ours comes from Indonesia.

Long Peppercorns

Also from Indonesia, our long pepper—from the Piper longum plant—is more pungent than black pepper, with a hint of sweetness. You'll find its fire enhancing Ethiopian cuisine and some Berbere blends.

Sichuan Pepper

Grown in China, our gourmet Sichuan (or Szechuan) has a warm, lemony/woodsy, intense flavor. Try it in place of black pepper on fish, poultry, and vegetables. It comes from the Zanthoxylum piperitum plant.

Pink Peppercorns

pink peppercornsPink peppercorns are also very decorative when combined with other peppercorns in a clear mill. Pink peppercorns are a gourmet item in French cooking, where they are used for their sweet, piquant peppery flavor and lovely color. These dried, ripe berries come from the South American Schinus terebinthifolius plant, and are completely unrelated to the black pepper plant.

Gourmet Pepper Blends

There are also gourmet blends—intriguing combinations of peppery tastes and eye-catching colors. Blends often combine black, white and green peppercorns. Frontier sells a variety of pepper blends, such as: Exotic Peppercorn Blend—a unique blend of our gourmet cubeb, grains of paradise, and black and pink peppercorns; and Smoked Peppercorn Blend, our distinctive blend of smoked black peppercorns with white and green peppercorns.

Experimenting with different pepper varieties inspires a new appreciation of this everyday spice. Some 4,000 years ago, black pepper was carried in caravans half way around the world over treacherous terrain. Today’s cooks can readily find it for pennies an ounce, in various grinds and colors. Start your quest today for your favorite new ways to pepper your life with these intriguing flavors!

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» Pepper primer
» Black peppercorns
» Green, white and other peppercorns

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