Wednesday, August 26, 2009

these are not capers

green peppercorns in one of my little handmade bowls 

I'm contemplating green peppercorns.

These are special peppercorns, at least they are special to me. They aren't dried and dried peppercorns are all I've ever known. I had no idea that what appear to be fresh peppercorns packed inside a small slender jar with water, vinegar, and salt (basically...a pickle) were out there in the world waiting for me. Aren't they beautiful? I saw them on the grocer's shelf when I was searching for capers and I knew I had to have them.

Green peppercorns are simply young unripe berries.
The fruit is dark red when fully mature. Black berries do not exist in nature, black peppercorns are green unripe berries that have been cooked and dried.

I just popped one in my mouth and it's quite lovely. As the firm little berry rolls around in my mouth, at first there is a mild sour saltiness, somewhat similar to a common caper, but without any hints of bitterness. When I bite into the berry it pops and there it is, the familiar pepper taste, but more bright and fresh. It's easy going for a second, but then boom, it hits me and my tongue tingles, my eyes water a bit, and I cough a weak little cough as the spiciness tickles my throat. A brief moment passes and I'm okay again.

The mild burn stays on my tongue for a few minutes and then I eat another one.


  1. that's a great photo

    I like to chop up green peppercorns and add them along with some garlic and a bit of bleu cheese when I make burgers -- yum!

    Also, I recently cam across fresh green peppercorns at an asian market here in hannover. They are beautiful -- tight little green berries, still on the stalk. The proprietor suggested I add them to a thai-style vegetable curry

  2. Jen-

    You found them on the stem? How exciting!

    I saw a post that mentioned pickling the the type on the stem that you found. She used
    water, turmeric, fresh lemon juice, and salt. I'm not so sure I'd be a fan, but I'll include the link here in case you want to try it.

    I'm sure your method of adding them to blue cheese with garlic and then topping a burger with the mixture would be fantastic!

    Thank you.