Updated December 26th, 2021
Pepper is the most popular seasoning in the world. It has been an important and precious commodity throughout history, not only for flavoring food, but also serving as currency, or being demanded as ransom in both the East and the West.
The ancient Greeks and Romans cooked with it. Peppercorns were so esteemed in twelfth-century England that a Guild of Pepperers was founded among London merchants. Marco Polo was impressed by the large quantity of pepper used in thirteenth-century China.
Black Pepper is harvested in the unripe, green state and left to dry for seven to ten days. As they dry, they shrivel and turn dark brown or black. Black peppercorns are quite hard and have the strongest flavor of the berries.
Freshly ground black pepper is highly pungent and aromatic, and can be bitingly hot.
As with all spices, Pepper should be stored in small airtight jars in a cool, dark place, as heat, moisture and sunlight will reduce its flavor.
Usually found in the Spice Aisle.