Ground Black Pepper
Salt and pepper are the two basic seasonings used in cooking for their ability to enhance the natural flavors of even a bland ingredient or item like a boiled potato. Black pepper is the fruit of the Piper nigrum which is cultivated exclusively for this spice’s production. The fruit is harvested before it matures or open and left to dry–the process by which it acquires its dark color.
Piper nigrum is native to India, which leads the world in the production of pepper. The plant’s oil is also used to make and preserve processed foods as well as perfumes. There are more than 100 varieties of this plant that differ mainly in the size and shape of their leaves and fruit.
Pepper has a strong flavor, hot and slightly spicy. Used discreetly it brings out the natural goodness of other ingredients in a dish. In the kitchen it’s used both whole and ground. Many diners also prefer whole peppercorns at the table so they can grind their pepper fresh over their dishes.