Peppercorns: All about peppercorns

When I am freshly grinding pepper during a demo I often get questions about the different types of peppercorns and their origins. Real peppercorns are the berries that grow in grapelike clusters on the Piper nigrum plant, a climbing vine native to India and Indonesia. They are processed differently to produce green, black, and white peppercorns. Green peppercorns are the under ripe berries preserved by freeze-drying, drying, or curing in vinegar or brine. Black peppercorns are harvested when the berry is almost ripe then dried until  shriveled and  dark. White peppercorns are ripe berries with the skin removed and the interior dried. Szechuan peppercorns and pink peppercorns are not peppercorns at all. Numbingly spicy Szechuan peppercorns are the dried husks of the berries of the prickly ash tree, while slightly sweet and perfumed pink peppercorns are the berries of the Baies rose. You can find more information on page 175 of Sara’s Secrets for Weeknight Meals.
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