The history of the spice trade essentially about the quest for pepper. Peppercorns and long pepper from the coast of Malabar (India) reached Europe at least 3,000 years ago. Because of the importance of the spice trade these trade routes were fiercely protected and empires were built and destroyed because of it. Pepper has even been used as currency. In 408CE the Goth demanded pepper as a part of their tribute when they laid siege to Rome. Later pepper was traded ounce for ounce for gold and used to pay dowries, rents, and taxes. The main producers of pepper are India (still!), Indonesia, Brazil, Malaysia, and Vietnam.
From the family Piperaceae, Black pepper (Piper nigrum) is a flowering vine that is cultivated for its fruit. When dried, the fruit is known as a peppercorn. Both the whole peppercorn and the ground peppercorn are frequently referred to as simply ‘pepper’. Peppercorns come in many varieties. Black, Green, and White peppercorns are the most common. The ripeness of the fruit before being dried determines the color, and flavor, of the pepper.
Black Pepper is the most popular form of pepper in the USA. Black peppercorns are produced by picking the mature but unripe berries as they are beginning to turn from green to yellow. They are then boiled briefly and then allowed to ferment and dry naturally in the sun (or by forced-air heating) until wrinkled and black. Black Pepper is moderately hot, pungent and aromatic.
Our Black Peppercorns are sourced from Brazil, India, Indonesia and Vietnam (depending on the time of year) and are picked when the berry hasn’t fully ripened. This whole black peppercorn produces a distinctly spicy flavor which is slightly hot and biting with a just a hint of sweetness and a clean aftertaste.
Store whole peppercorns in an airtight container in a cool, dark place and they will keep their flavor for about a year (while ground pepper tends to hold its flavor for only about 4 months). If you don’t already have a top grade pepper mill you should definitely get one as freshly ground pepper delivers a more intense savory experience than commercially ground pepper.
We also have fine grind black pepper available that is ground right before bottling to ensure top quality. Try out white pepper for a warmer, less biting pepper flavor. Can’t decide? We also have a black and white peppercorn blend that is perfect for your pepper mill!
Good with eggs, fish, pork, chicken, salads, soup, strawberries and tomatoes. Works well in combination with basil, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, garlic, ginger, nutmeg, parsley, rosemary, thyme and turmeric.