Country of Origin: Vietnam
Black pepper is the most important condiment in the world, used in almost every single recipe. It is almost as necessary and important as salt is in all recipes.
Pepper vines are native to South Asia and Southeast Asia. Pepper was introduced to Europe when it was brought from India' s Malabar coast to Italy and Rome through the Red Sea and the Nile River during the time of the Roman Empire. Pepper was extremely valuable and expensive that it was even used as a currency for trading. It can often been found in references as ''black gold''.
Nowadays the main producers of pepper are India, Indonesia, Brazil, Malaysia and Vietnam which is the world' s largest producer and exporter, producing almost 40% of the world' s pepper.
Black pepper comes from the berries of a flowering vine in the family Piperaceae.
The vine produces fruits which become red or pink in color when the are fully ripe at about 5mm in diameter. This is when red peppercorns are harvested.
To produce black pepper, the berries of the vine are harvested when they are still green and immature. After harvest, the berries are fermented and left to dry. During the drying process, the peppercorns shrink and their skin becomes dark and wrinkled.
Black pepper tastes hot and spicy since it contains piperine and has a full-bodied, woody, citrusy aroma thanks to its outer layer which contains terpenes and piperine. Black pepper needs to be stored in airtight containers since it loses its aroma and taste through evaporation.
Ground black pepper loses its essential oil faster and the flavor and aroma diminish overtime. Black peppercorns should be ground only when needed to be consumed but if you insist on buying it ground it is better to buy small quantities and renew it frequently. If you prefer whole black peppercorns click here.
Black pepper is good with almost all foods. It is used to season stocks, soups, sauces. Black pepper enhances the flavor of salads, vegetables, fish and meat, to be cooked or grilled or marinated. It can be added raw on top of every dish when served, or it can be cooked since heat does not destroy its flavor and pungency.