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THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF PEPPER AND HOW TO USE THEM

by Tomeem Official 11 May 2024 0 Comments

Pepper is probably one of the most essential ingredients in your kitchen. Too little of it and your food can be bland and unremarkable; too much and it can overpower other flavors, even becoming inedible. But just the right amount? That’s culinary perfection.

However, there are so many types of pepper, it can be hard to know where to start. But fret no more. Just get yourself a good quality salt and pepper set and read on to find out all about the different types of pepper and how to use them.

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF PEPPER?

We’ll get into more detail below, but the main types of pepper we’re going to be talking about are Black, White, Green, Pink, Szechuan, Long, and Cubeb. They come in different shapes and sizes, some are whole, some are ground. And they come in different colors too. There’s black pepper, obviously. But did you know it can be white, green, pink, even red?

Why? We’re going to get into that below.

BLACK PEPPER

This is the most common type of pepper and is harvested when the peppercorns are nearly ripe, then dried until they turn black. Black pepper is versatile and can be used in almost any dish. Its strong, pungent flavor makes it ideal for seasoning meats, vegetables, soups, and stews.

It’s best to grind black pepper fresh using a good quality pepper mill to maximize its flavor and aroma.

WHITE PEPPER

White pepper comes from fully ripe peppercorns with the outer skin removed, resulting in a milder flavor compared to black pepper. It’s often used in light-colored dishes like white sauces and mashed potatoes where you don’t want black flecks.

Because of its subtle taste, white pepper is also popular in Asian cuisine.

GREEN PEPPER

Green peppercorns are picked while still unripe and then either dried or preserved in brine or vinegar. They have a fresh, piquant flavor and are less pungent than black pepper.

Green pepper is excellent in sauces, marinades, and pickles. It can add a refreshing note to dishes without being overpowering.

PINK PEPPER

Pink peppercorns aren’t true peppercorns but come from the berries of the Peruvian pepper tree. They have a delicate, fruity flavor with a hint of spiciness.

They are often used in pepper blends and are great for adding a pop of color and a mild, sweet heat to salads, desserts, and seafood dishes.

SZECHUAN PEPPER

Szechuan pepper comes from the husks of seeds from the prickly ash tree, giving it a unique, tongue-tingling sensation rather than traditional heat. It’s a key ingredient in Chinese cuisine, particularly in Szechuan dishes.

Its citrusy, floral flavor pairs well with meats, especially in stir-fries and spice blends.

LONG PEPPER

Long pepper looks like a small, elongated pine cone and has a hotter, more complex flavor compared to black pepper. It was more commonly used in Europe before black pepper became widely available.

Its taste is similar to black pepper but with sweet, almost cinnamon-like undertones. It’s great for stews, curries, and spice blends.

CUBEB PEPPER

Cubeb pepper, also known as tailed pepper, has a distinctive pungent aroma and a slightly bitter taste with hints of allspice. It’s commonly used in Indonesian cuisine and was popular in medieval Europe.

Cubeb pepper works well in sausages, spice blends, and marinades for meats.

WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO SEASON WITH PEPPER?

Great seasoning is all about enhancing the flavors of your dish. Pepper, at its best, brings out the best in other ingredients, adding depth and complexity to your meals. So how do you achieve that? Once you’ve chosen which pepper is best for your meal (see above advice) and you’ve got a pepper mill you’re happy with, the key is to season slowly and taste as you go.

Remember, you can always add more pepper, but it’s a tricky task to tone it down once it’s overdone. Start with a small amount and adjust according to taste. Use freshly ground pepper whenever possible to maximize its flavor and aroma.

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