Black Peppercorns are an essential seasoning, highly aromatic with a sharp, pungent flavor that complements a wide variety of foods. They can be used whole or cracked or ground to the desired size.
Ready to use. Add to taste. Best when ground fresh just before use.
Storage & handling
Story in a dry, cool place.
Black Peppercorns come from the common pepper plant (Piper nigrum), a flowering tropical plant native to India. The plant produces tiny berries, or drupes, which can be harvested and processed at various stages of their maturity to achieve different flavors and colors. Black Peppercorns are harvested at full maturity, but before they ripen. When picked, they are somewhere between green and yellow. They are next briefly boiled and then allowed to dry and ferment until they become wrinkled, black and very aromatic, with a moderately hot, pungent flavor.
Peppercorns have far-reaching cultural and historical significance. Europeans sought them as far back as ancient times, and as a result, they often drove exploration and commerce. As early as the Roman Empire, they were bought, sold and taxed. The lure of pepper and other spices brought explorers from all over Europe to India during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
Black Peppercorns have traditionally been used as a remedy for digestive complaints of all kinds: there is some evidence that the chemical that gives peppercorns their hot may assist in chemical functions within the body. In Ayurvedic medicine, black peppercorns are also used to stimulate appetite and to treat colds, coughs and sore throats.
A classic way to showcase a quality cut of beef, this recipe for steak au poivre features an iconic black peppercorn sauce with a special twist: flamed cognac. Showy but not overly taxing to make, it's just the ticket for a tête-à-tête or an intimate gathering with friends.