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TitleHandbook of Spices, Seasonings, And Flavorings
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Page 2

HANDBOOK OF

Spices,
Seasonings,
and Flavorings
SECOND EDITION



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Page 176

A to Z Spices 155

Black peppercorn is a globular, wrinkled, dried, unripe berry or fruit with its
outer hull or skin intact. This green or greenish yellow peppercorn (the immature
berry) is picked, fermented for a few days, and then dried in kilns. During drying,
it shrivels and becomes wrinkled and black. The most popular black peppers are as
follows: Tellicherry pepper, from the coast of southwest India, is the most aromatic
black pepper, with a fruity clean bouquet with little pungency; Malabar is the regular
grade black pepper also with good aroma and little pungency; Lampong pepper,
from Sumatra, Java, and Borneo in Indonesia, is small and grayish in color, is very
pungent but not as aromatic as Tellicherry pepper or Malabar pepper. Sarawak
pepper, from Malaysia, is milder than the Lampong pepper. Other varieties include
Chinese black pepper (light in color with a mild flavor), and from Brazil, Madagascar,
Vietnam, Ceylon, and Singapore, which are all mild with little aroma.

White peppercorns are berries stripped of the outer hull and picked when near
ripe, when they are yellowish red or red in color. The berries are then soaked in
water or steamed to soften and loosen their skin. The outer hulls or skins are removed
by rubbing, leaving a smooth, light-colored berry. They are then bleached, rinsed,
and sun dried. White peppercorns can also be prepared from black peppercorn by
mechanically removing the outer hulls, a process called decortication. This latter
type of white pepper tastes more like black pepper. So, white pepper is actually the
inside seed and not the whole fruit like black pepper. The more popular varieties of
white peppers are Muntock (from Banda Island near Sumatra, Indonesia), Sarawak
(Malaysia), Brazilian, and Chinese.

Green peppercorns, from Amazonas, Brazil, are the unripe tender berries that
are picked and air dried or freeze-dried and then packed in brine or wine vinegar to
retain their color.

Red peppercorns are the ripe matured berries that are dried at high temperature.
They are also pickled.

Long pepper/pippali are tiny berries that merge into a single rodlike structure
that is about 1.5 inches long and is slightly tapered. Its taste is similar to black
pepper, but it has a slight sweetness and a stronger taste. In India, it is an essential
ingredient of the spice mixture used with betel nuts in paan leaf, which is chewed
after a meal.

Cubeb pepper is a berry that is slightly larger than the peppercorn and has a
furrowed surface. It comes with the stem attached, and thus, it is also called tailed
pepper. Most cubeb berries are hollow. Cubeb pepper is sold whole, crushed, or
ground.

Negro peppers are kidney-shaped seeds encased in long slender bean pods
that are dark brown in color and come in clusters. Tasmanian peppers are sold dried
and look like shriveled whole black peppercorns.

Properties: pepper provides aroma as well as a “bite” that is different from chile
peppers, ginger, mustard, or other pungent spices. The essential oil gives the aroma,
whereas the nonvolatiles, such as piperine, give the pungency. Each pepper has
different flavor characteristics.

Black pepper has a less biting taste than white pepper but has a wonderful
bouquet—a penetrating pungent and woody aroma when freshly ground. It has slight
lemony and clove tones. White pepper has a sharp, winey, and biting taste with less

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156 Handbook of Spices, Seasonings, and Flavorings, Second Edition

harsh notes. It has little aroma and lacks the bouquet of black pepper. Both peppers
lose flavor easily when ground. Green peppercorn is aromatic, with less of a sharp
flavor than black or white pepper. Red peppercorns have a delicate sweet taste. Long
pepper is hot and more pungent but with sweet tones. Cubebs are pungent and tealike
with slightly musky and bitter notes. They have a terpeny aroma. When ground,
cubebs release cumin-like notes and, when cooked, they release an aroma that
combines allspice with curry. Negro peppers are aromatic with slightly bitter and
pungent notes that are quite similar to cubeb and nutmeg or mace. Tasmanian peppers
resemble black peppercorns in regard to color and size. The fruits have an initial
sweet taste, followed by pungent notes and a later numbness on the tongue, like
Sichuan pepper. Its leaves are also used sometimes.

Chemical Components: it has a colorless to pale greenish colored essential oil.
Black pepper generally contains 1% to 2.6% essential oil, going up to 5%, while
white pepper and long pepper contain less than 1.0%. Fixed oil is 2% to 9% in black
and white peppers. Essential oil consists primarily of monoterpenes (80%), such as
sabinene, �-pinene, �-pinene, limonene, and 1,8-cineol, all of which are responsible
for the pungent aroma. During storage, ground black pepper can lose these monot-
erpenes. Sesquiterpenes make up the other 20% which include �-caryophyllene and
humulene.

Black pepper has 10% to 15% oleoresin, which is dark green to olive green. In
white pepper, the essential oil is about 8%.

The bite and pungency in black and white peppers is primarily due to the
nonvolatile alkaloids, piperine and chavicin. The ratio of these two alkaloids varies
in different peppers, thus giving rise to the different pungencies. White pepper lacks
chavicin (which is present in the epicarp) and most of the essential oil (present in
the outer mesocarp), but contains piperine, which gives the bite but not the aroma.
Piperine accounts for about 98% of the total alkaloid compounds in both of these
peppers, others being piperittine and piperyline.

Black pepper has aroma and bite. Its piperine content varies with its origins.
Indian peppers are very aromatic, whereas Malaysian and Indonesian peppers are
less aromatic but have more bite; Brazilian peppers have a milder bite than other
black peppers because of their low piperine content.

Pipalli or long pepper has 1% essential oil, mainly phellandrene and limonene.
It has a slightly higher piperine level than black pepper.

The dried fruit of the cubeb pepper has up to 10% essential oil, mostly sabinene,
1,4-cineol, and carene. Pungency is mainly due to cubebin with other related com-
pounds.

Negro pepper has 2% to 4.2% essential oil, mainly �-pinene, 1,8 cineol,
�-terpineol, paradol, linalool, �-ocimene, �-pinene, and other terpenes with traces
of vanillin, depending on the fruit. Tasmanian pepper has polygodial which is
responsible for its pungency, and its essential oil contains monotrpenes and
sesquiterpenes.

Black, white, long, and green peppers contain potassium, calcium, sodium,
magnesium, and iron.

How Prepared and Consumed: peppers were used in ancient times to preserve
meats. Today, pepper is the most important table spice throughout the world. It cuts

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330



Handbook of Spices, Seasonings, and Flavorings, Second Edition



Yucatan regional cuisine, 231
recados in, 239

Yuzu orange, 205



Z



Zahtar spice blend, 272

Zedoary, 185–186
Zhug spice blend, 272–273
Zucchini blossoms, 193

as wrappers, 195



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