Spice Story

The Subtle Complexity of Black Pepper

Spice Story: Black Pepper

Black pepper is an essential spice, beloved around the world, with a place of honor back of house and on the table. Among hot spices, black pepper delivers only a fraction of the heat you get from chili peppers. That subtle bite means it plays well with many other ingredients, enhancing, but rarely overpowering other flavors.

The main active ingredient in black peppercorns is piperine, which is the source of black pepper’s characteristic heat. Aside from heat, black pepper carries a complex flavor profile of piney, citrusy notes. By adding more black pepper to a dish, eventually the heat from the piperine becomes the main flavor. To amplify the complexity of black pepper and not only the piperine heat, use other spices and herbs that balance and complement black pepper’s inherent flavors. Rosemary adds notes of pine, cardamom and coriander add hints of citrus, juniper berries bring a woody characteristic, and anise seed adds subtle sweetness. The use of these spices and herbs in harmony with black pepper enhance and balance the deceptively simple aspects of the black pepper and leave you with more great black pepper flavor in the end.

Ground black pepper adds an earthy kick and sharp aroma when blended into soups and stews, sprinkled on omelets or rubbed on meat to season it before cooking. Black pepper is a must-have for bakers, too, and appears in recipes for biscuits, breads, cake and cookies. The aroma of this culinary must-have should set your nose tingling, and inspire new and previously unexplored uses for this “hidden in plain sight” flavor.



Which Black Pepper Granulation is Right For You?

Pure Ground: Imparts the greatest amount of flavor due to its fine, consistent granulation. Use in cooking when lower visibility is desired.

Shaker Grind: Medium Grind, excellent for tabletop application finishing a dish.

Table Grind: Slightly more coarse ground pepper, this larger tabletop grind is perfect for visual appeal.

Coarse Grind: Use in cooking when a bold, impressive presentation is desired. Great for salad dressings and added on proteins before broiling.

Cracked: Split peppercorns used as a garnish. Perfect to use when creating an exciting visual appeal in which pepper is a featured ingredient.

Whole: Whole berries, carefully selected for consistency in size and flavor. Perfect for fresh grind peppermills and also used in pickling mixes, marinades, infusions, soups, and sauces.

Spice Story

Black Pepper:
Did You Know?

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Ripe Pepper
Fruit
Fun Fact #1

Fun Fact #1

Black peppercorns are green peppercorns that have been allowed to ferment and dry in the sun
Fun Fact #2

Fun Fact #2

High-quality peppercorns are characterized by a strong cedar aroma
Fun Fact #3

Fun Fact #3

Piperine is the alkaloid component of black pepper that gives it its spiciness
Fun Fact #4

Fun Fact #4

In addition to spiciness, black pepper is known for its sharp, piney flavor
Fun Fact #5

Fun Fact #5

Because pepper can be stored for many years without losing its flavor and aroma, it has long been known as the master spice
Fun Fact #6

Fun Fact #6

Pepper was so precious in ancient times that it was used as money to pay taxes, tributes, dowries, and rent
Fun Fact #7

Fun Fact #7

It was weighed like gold and used as a common medium of exchange. In A.D. 410, when Rome was captured, 3,000 pounds of pepper were demanded as ransom

Globally Sourced from the Vine

  1. Black, white, and green peppercorns are all the same berry
  2. These peppercorns come from an evergreen vine Piper Nigrum L
  3. Piper Nigrum L is globally grown, including in Brazil, Indonesia, and India
  4. Green peppercorns are harvested before fully ripe
  5. Black peppercorns are immature berries fermented and dried in the sun
  6. White peppercorns are fully ripened, soaked to remove husk, and dried
McCormick regularly visits and sources from all the major pepper-producing countriesread moreBlack Pepper:<br>Did You Know?spice-bowl-source

Sourcing

McCormick regularly visits and sources from all the major pepper-producing countriesread moreBlack Pepper:<br>Did You Know?

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