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Peppercorns, black, white, green (and their culinary cousins).


Anna N

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In another thread, (Here)  @liuzhoushows off his newly acquired pepper mills explaining that he uses one for white peppercorns, one for black peppercorns and a spare which he keeps near his computer for snacks. White? Black?

 

The mention of white pepper stirred some memories, and I needed to see if I could find some support for my recollection that pepper on the table when I was growing up was white. I don’t recall black pepper in my childhood in the UK.
 

A little googling turned up this article on pepper. . It seems to confirm that my memory is not very far off. Here
 

In truth, I still prefer the flavour of white pepper to that of black, and yet I have been launched in the direction of only ever using black pepper, except for very specific occasions, including when cooking Asian food or light coloured dishes. 
 

I searched for a topic devoted to peppercorns. I was unable to find one. There are various topics on white pepper and other individual peppers, but nothing seems to bring all the peppercorns together.  (This is not about chili peppers or bell peppers or their like.)

 

Black peppercorns, white peppercorns, and green peppercorns. all come from the same botanical plant. Pink peppercorns and Sichuan pepper come from a different source.

 

What does your peppercorn collection look like and how do you use it?

 
 

 



 

 

 

Edited by Anna N
To fix a wondering link I hope. (log)
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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

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I have never used white peppercorns I like the taste of the pink but they are botanically different. My area has a bit of worship for the Brazillian pepper tree and I've seen peple collect the berries.The green brined can be iffy in quality and I've eaten and enjoyed that flavor burst fresh in SE Asian cuisine but only once enjoyed the experience but not here in US.

 

I have taken to a rough smashing M & P of the black in my curries and keep a simple grinder for finer applications. My reveal experience with the extremely rough cracked was sharing with one neighboir how we were cooking the beautiful tuna another brought us from Cabo San Lucas. They used whole black as a coating in the pan. Intensely different.

 

This old topic has some worthwhile discussion on uses  https://forums.egullet.org/topic/20586-pepper/

 

Edited by heidih (log)
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I love brined green pepper but can seldom find it anymore. I used to buy it regularly in the supermarket in So. California. Has it just fallen out of favor now or is it just scarce in the midwest?

 

As far as my pantry goes, I have white, black, green and pink, I think. I like them all. Husband is not a pepper person, so I don't use them as often/as much as I'd like.

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Deb

Liberty, MO

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1 hour ago, heidih said:

I have never used white peppercorns

Really? Thats like a standard in asian cooking. I will admit, i am very picky with what brand i buy because some white pepper smells like baby poo. ( seriously ) I have a goto brand at my local asian market that doesn't bring back diaper change flashbacks. 

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56 minutes ago, Maison Rustique said:

I love brined green pepper but can seldom find it anymore. I used to buy it regularly in the supermarket in So. California. Has it just fallen out of favor now or is it just scarce in the midwest?

 

As far as my pantry goes, I have white, black, green and pink, I think. I like them all. Husband is not a pepper person, so I don't use them as often/as much as I'd like.

 

I too can seldom find green pepper anymore.  It's somewhere in my spice cupboard.

 

Originally I purchased green pepper to make steak au poivre.  Still waiting.  I would love shame or encouragement!  Pink pepper, so far, I have employed only for making ice cream --  Rose Levy Beranbaum's recipe Fire and Ice.  Don't ask, just do it.

 

In cooking I almost never use pepper.  However I season my food heavily at the table with black or red (eg. further ripened black peppercorns).  White pepper when a recipe calls for it or for when I'm in the mood.  I find the flavor of black or red much more complex and fragrant than white.  I've read some people cannot fully taste the aromatics of black pepper.

 

Anyhow, count me as a pepper lover.

 

 

 

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53 minutes ago, FeChef said:

Really? Thats like a standard in asian cooking. I will admit, i am very picky with what brand i buy because some white pepper smells like baby poo. ( seriously ) I have a goto brand at my local asian market that doesn't bring back diaper change flashbacks. 

I've tasted it in some North American "Chinese" dishes but I don't cook to recipes amd for some reason never sourced it.  Your caveat does not inspire experimentation ;) 

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4 minutes ago, heidih said:

I've tasted it in some North American "Chinese" dishes but I don't cook to recipes amd for some reason never sourced it.  Your caveat does not inspire experimentation ;) 

Do you like Cilantro? Theres a thing about some people who think cilatro who think it also taste like baby poo, or stink bugs. I personally like eating stink bugs. ( no joke ) lol, they do taste like cilantro.

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10 hours ago, Anna N said:

The mention of white pepper stirred some memories, and I needed to see if I could find some support for my recollection that pepper on the table when I was growing up was white. I don’t recall black pepper in my childhood in the UK.

 

I seem to remember that pepper was nominally black, but in fact was a stale, greyish powdery substance that could have been anything. The detritus that multiplied in my father's trousers' turn-ups, perhaps.

 

Actual peppercorns were totally unknown and probably immoral foreign muck!

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14 hours ago, FeChef said:

Do you like Cilantro? Theres a thing about some people who think cilatro who think it also taste like baby poo, or stink bugs. I personally like eating stink bugs. ( no joke ) lol, they do taste like cilantro.

I love cilantro. I am not opposed to white pepper but never integrated it into my cooking - never came up. I remember some older recipes that called for it because black flecks would ruin the look of a dish - no mention of a taste difference. 

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In my peppercorn collection, there are a couple kinds of black peppercorns. My main Unicorn magnum grinder is currently filled with Aranya pepper from India.  An auxiliary grinder is filled with Vietnamese black pepper.  Both of these have fruity notes but the former leans more to warm dried fruits and the latter towards bright citrus. Another auxillary grinder, chosen for its very fine grind, houses white peppercorns and I use them occasionally.  I have both red and green Sichuan peppercorns, though I usually bash them as needed with a mortar and pestle rather than in a grinder.  At the end of my driveway, I have a California pepper tree (Schinus molle, aka Peruvian pepper tree, not to be confused with the Brazilian pepper tree (Schinus terebinthifolia or Schinus terebinthifolius, which I also have popping up in weed-like fashion) that @heidih mentioned above. My tree offers me all the pink peppercorns I could ever want.  I keep some in a small grinder along with black and white peppercorns that makes for a nice mixed finishing pepper but if a recipe specifically calls for pink peppercorns, then I try to plan ahead, get some from the tree and let them dry a bit.

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Here’s an intriguing look at various “peppers”. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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1 hour ago, Anna N said:

Here’s an intriguing look at various “peppers”. 

 

I wouldn't buy Sichuan peppercorns from this outfit. Anyone selling such peppercorns that only have "slightly numbing" flavour should be shunned. Sichuan peppercorns should be slap in the mouth numbing. If not; they are stale and worthless.

 

Otherwise, a good summary.

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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

"No amount of evidence will ever persuade an idiot"
Mark Twain

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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36 minutes ago, liuzhou said:

 

I wouldn't buy Sichuan peppercorns from this outfit. Anyone selling such peppercorns that only have "slightly numbing" flavour should be shunned. Sichuan peppercorns should be slap in the mouth numbing. If not; they are stale and worthless.

 

Otherwise, a good summary.

What stunned me was that this is a Canadian outfit!  Unlike our neighbours to the south we have few on line sources of foods. But if you look at the shipping costs within Canada, the reason soon become apparent!  

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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4 hours ago, blue_dolphin said:

In my peppercorn collection, there are a couple kinds of black peppercorns. My main Unicorn magnum grinder is currently filled with Aranya pepper from India.  An auxiliary grinder is filled with Vietnamese black pepper.  Both of these have fruity notes but the former leans more to warm dried fruits and the latter towards bright citrus. Another auxillary grinder, chosen for its very fine grind, houses white peppercorns and I use them occasionally.  I have both red and green Sichuan peppercorns, though I usually bash them as needed with a mortar and pestle rather than in a grinder.  At the end of my driveway, I have a California pepper tree (Schinus molle, aka Peruvian pepper tree, not to be confused with the Brazilian pepper tree (Schinus terebinthifolia or Schinus terebinthifolius, which I also have popping up in weed-like fashion) that @heidih mentioned above. My tree offers me all the pink peppercorns I could ever want.  I keep some in a small grinder along with black and white peppercorns that makes for a nice mixed finishing pepper but if a recipe specifically calls for pink peppercorns, then I try to plan ahead, get some from the tree and let them dry a bit.

 

I also have a Schinus Molle peppercorn tree which is an invasive here but so well established that there is nothing to be done about them. Throws great shade but I'm always struggling to keep it from dropping branches on the shed and hacked back to some semblance of order. I haven't bothered harvesting any berries, in part from reading that they can have gastric effects. Do you just dry the berries and put in the grinder?

It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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26 minutes ago, haresfur said:

 

I also have a Schinus Molle peppercorn tree which is an invasive here but so well established that there is nothing to be done about them. Throws great shade but I'm always struggling to keep it from dropping branches on the shed and hacked back to some semblance of order. I haven't bothered harvesting any berries, in part from reading that they can have gastric effects. Do you just dry the berries and put in the grinder?

Yes, they are very messy trees, dropping leaves, branches and berries all over the place!  
As you said, I just dry them at room temp for a few days and crush them as needed. I tried them after reading this Garden Betty blog post. I'm not tremendously enamored of the flavor but I haven’t experienced any ill effects at all. 

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When we were in Arizona, our basic table pepper was Trader Joe's Rainbow Peppercorns with the built-in grinder. The price was very reasonable and I thought it was a decent product. I wish we could get this up here. 

 

Trader Joe's Rainbow Peppercorns , a Mixture of Brazilian Pink, Indian Green, Malaysian White and Indian Black Tellicherry Peppercorns

 

8123bOavymS._SL1500_.jpg

 

Photo from Amazon listing. 

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1 hour ago, blue_dolphin said:

Yes, they are very messy trees, dropping leaves, branches and berries all over the place!  
As you said, I just dry them at room temp for a few days and crush them as needed. I tried them after reading this Garden Betty blog post. I'm not tremendously enamored of the flavor but I haven’t experienced any ill effects at all. 

No ill effects here either. GB lived in my area. Two cities I lived in used them as parkway trees. NOT as messy as the jacarandas. Loveley purple but the mush and the huge seed pods! 

 

1 minute ago, FauxPas said:

When we were in Arizona, our basic table pepper was Trader Joe's Rainbow Peppercorns with the built-in grinder. The price was very reasonable and I thought it was a decent product. I wish we could get this up here. 

 

Trader Joe's Rainbow Peppercorns , a Mixture of Brazilian Pink, Indian Green, Malaysian White and Indian Black Tellicherry Peppercorns

 

8123bOavymS._SL1500_.jpg

 

Photo from Amazon listing. 

The cool thing on that strain of TJ grinders was you could open and refill. Before I bought I got one of the guys to check it out. The employee did not even know!

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4 hours ago, Anna N said:

What stunned me was that this is a Canadian outfit!  Unlike our neighbours to the south we have few on line sources of foods. But if you look at the shipping costs within Canada, the reason soon become apparent!  

 

If @JoNorvelleWalkerchimes in, she may mention another Canadian company, SpiceTrekkers. They may have a better selection, lower shipping rates and a lower minimum for free shipping. Also, they have specials now and then and reduced shipping. 

 

Edited to add: The link is to their peppercorn selection, which seems pretty decent to me. But their prices are a bit high overall. 

Edited by FauxPas (log)
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19 minutes ago, FauxPas said:

When we were in Arizona, our basic table pepper was Trader Joe's Rainbow Peppercorns with the built-in grinder. The price was very reasonable and I thought it was a decent product. I wish we could get this up here. 

 

Trader Joe's Rainbow Peppercorns , a Mixture of Brazilian Pink, Indian Green, Malaysian White and Indian Black Tellicherry Peppercorns

 

8123bOavymS._SL1500_.jpg

 

Photo from Amazon listing. 

I have one of these and use it often. Very nice and great price!

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Deb

Liberty, MO

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52 minutes ago, FauxPas said:

 

If @JoNorvelleWalkerchimes in, she may mention another Canadian company, SpiceTrekkers. They may have a better selection, lower shipping rates and a lower minimum for free shipping. Also, they have specials now and then and reduced shipping. 

 

Edited to add: The link is to their peppercorn selection, which seems pretty decent to me. But their prices are a bit high overall. 

Thanks I could spend hours and hours on these sites. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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1 hour ago, FauxPas said:

 

If @JoNorvelleWalkerchimes in, she may mention another Canadian company, SpiceTrekkers. They may have a better selection, lower shipping rates and a lower minimum for free shipping. Also, they have specials now and then and reduced shipping. 

 

Edited to add: The link is to their peppercorn selection, which seems pretty decent to me. But their prices are a bit high overall. 

 

Indeed, I like Spice Trekkers.  They have things that are difficult to source otherwise.

 

 

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Cooking is cool.  And kitchen gear is even cooler.  -- Chad Ward

Whatever you crave, there's a dumpling for you. -- Hsiao-Ching Chou

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Timut pepper is a recent discovery for us, great with all kinds of fruit, it has an intense but pleasant flavour well worth trying.  Otherwise we generally use black pepper.  Green peppercorns in brine make a good addition to a sauce for a steak.  Mashed potato has to have white pepper from a Saxa shaker or it’s not mashed spud according to my DH. 😁

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