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Guide to Peppercorns

Believe it or not, pepper was once more valuable than gold. In fact, it was used as currency as early as 1000 B.C. This favorite spice originated in southern India but now makes an appearance on spice racks and kitchen tables all around the world. While black peppercorns may be the most commonly used, we love having a variety of peppercorns in our culinary toolbox. They add different flavors (and colors) to anything they touch!

Little piles of different types of peppercorns

Black Peppercorns

Black peppercorns are a product of the dried, immature fruits from the Piper nigrum plant. They are harvested when the fruit turns red and then are sun-dried for three days. Once they turn black, they are ready! Black pepper plays a key role in various spice blends found around globe. Garam Masala, for example, wouldn’t be quite as delicious without the addition of zesty black peppercorns

Try it: in almost every culinary creation you can think up because black peppercorns add just the right amount of warmth and kick to any dish.

Smoked Peppercorns

If you’re one of those people who enjoy smoky dishes, our smoked black peppercorns are a must-have for your spice rack. These peppercorns are smoked over a blend of seven different kinds of wood, creating a well-rounded, flavorful peppercorn that adds a natural smoky taste to your recipe.

Try it: atop homemade mac and cheese or on sauteed veggies for an easy fresh-off-the-grill flavor.

Green Peppercorns

Green peppercorns are picked from the Piper nigrum plant before they mature, but unlike black peppercorns, the drying process is skipped, allowing these beauties to maintain their green color and uniquely bright and crisp flavor. Green peppercorns are often used in French, Creole, and Thai dishes.

Try it: freshly ground on strawberries topped with fresh basil and balsamic vinegar. Green peppercorns are also divine on an omlet.

White peppercorns in a mortar on top of a chopping board with a pestle

White Peppercorns

White peppercorns are picked once the Piper nigrum fruit is fully ripe. The outer skin is then rubbed off, revealing the dried white pepper inside. White pepper is a bit more mild in taste compared to black pepper and is often used in European cuisines for its delicate yet creamy flavor.

Try it: in light-colored sauces and soups. I like to add it to my vegan cashew alfredo sauce.

Different types of pink peppercorns in glass jar on counter with a mortar and pestle in the background

Pink Peppercorns

If you really want to wow your dinner guests with an exotic twist, try pink peppercorns. These vibrant little spheres are not actually considered to be true peppercorns because they’re  harvested from a different plant that is native to tropical and sub-tropical climates. Pink peppercorns offer a unique sweet and spicy flavor that makes them perfect for salads, vegetables, fruit sauces, bitters, and even desserts! Yes, I said desserts!

Try it: in rich, chocolatey cakes as it gives a slightly fruity yet zesty kick or include it in a batch of homemade bitters.

Long Pepper

While long pepper is not technically a peppercorn, it is closely related to the Piper nigrum plant, so we couldn’t help but include it. It comes from a flowering vine that’s similar to regular black pepper, but it’s much hotter in taste. This complex, earthy pepper has hints of chocolate and tobacco. It's traditionally used in Mediterranean, African, Indian, and Indonesian cooking.

Try it: in your favorite cookie recipe or hiding in our Holy Basil Chai.

Rainbow Peppercorns

Can’t decide on a peppercorn? Start with a bottle of our rainbow peppercorns, a blend of black, green, white, and pink. Not only is this colorful mix visually appealing, but it offers both well-rounded flavor and heat to your culinary creations.


Interested In Taking your culinary skills to the next level?  

Try this homemade vinaigrette recipe!

 

White porcelin cups with pink, white, and rainbow peppercorns

Topics: Cooking with Herbs Recipes, Herbal Products

Sara

Written by Sara on October 16, 2017

Sara, Marketing Coordinator, is our social media and content strategist. She was born and raised in Colorado but has been enjoying the beauty of the Pacific Northwest for the past five years. When she isn’t content planning and monitoring social media for Mountain Rose Herbs, she can be found supporting artists and buying veggies at the local farmers market, volunteering at the dog rescue, exploring different parts of Oregon, and cooking up delicious meals with her partner.