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What Are Green Peppercorns?

Last Updated on October 10, 2023

Curious about the flavor of green peppercorns? Want to add a unique taste to your dishes?

This article will tell you all about green peppercorns. We’ll discuss the distinction between fresh and dried, how to prepare them and how to use them! Unlock the potential of these tantalizing spices.

Green Peppercorns

Green peppercorns are young berries (unripe) that grow on Piper nigrum, a flowering vine in the Piperaceae family in tropical regions, native to the subcontinent of India and Southeast Asia (Thailand).

Unlike black and white peppercorns, they are harvested before maturation. This gives them their unique color, texture and mild taste.

Usually you can find them fresh, pickled or canned in brine. They’re often used to flavor sauces, marinades and stews. Thai, French, and Indian cuisine often incorporate fresh green peppers to spice up cooking by adding some green peppercorns.

Black Peppercorns

Black ones are picked when ripe. They are then dried, giving them a dark color & spicy flavor. They have a strong peppery taste and are widely used and give a pungent flavor. 

types of peppercorns

White Peppercorns

They are ripe and soaked, removing the outer layer. The inner seed is dried, giving it a milder flavor than black. White pepper are widely used in Asian cuisine. They are mild, with an earthy flavor – perfect for gravies and soups.

Pink Peppercorns

Genetically, they’re closer to cashews than to a pepper spice. Due to their similar shape and size, they’re marketed as pink peppercorns.

They are often used decoratively due to their vibrant color and sweet, mild, citrusy flavour – perfectly to serve with desserts and cocktails.

Types of Green Peppercorn

  • Brined green peppercorns are the most common. They have a tangy, slightly sour taste.
  • Freeze-dried ones have a crisp texture and a subtle grassy flavor. Great for salads and dressings!
  • Dehydrated ones are air-dried and have a mild, sweet flavor. They pair well with most dishes.

Benefits of Green Peppercorns

These unripe versions of the classic black peppercorn are harvested before they reach full maturity. They have great benefits – from their fresh and herbal flavor to their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Plus, they’re packed with iron, potassium, and manganese, essential for the immune system.

Also, as a low-calorie alternative to salt and other high-sodium seasonings. For the best results, choose freshly harvested green peppercorns, consume them in moderation, and store them in a dry and cool place.

(Source: The Indian Express)

How To Cook With

These tiny dried berries are small, tender, and slightly bitter. Whole and powdered ground forms can be used in many ways. Popular uses include:

  • Sauces and marinades, especially Thai and French dishes.
  • Soups and stews for a tangy, slightly spicy flavor.
  • Stir-fries and sautéed veggies.
  • Pickling brines for cucumbers, carrots, and other veg.
  • Toppings for pizzas and salads.

How to Select and Store 

Tips for selecting: Look for plump, firm, and evenly colored. Avoid shriveled, discolored, moldy, or mildewy ones. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry, and dark place. Freeze in a resealable bag in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Recipes Using Fresh Whole Green Peppercorns

These peppercorns are preserved in things like vinegar or brine and have a milder, fresher flavor than black pepper.

For a bright tangy and robust flavor, simply add green peppercorns to vegetables and sauces. Here are some recipes to try:

  • Green peppercorn sauce – a delicious steak or chicken accompaniment.
  • Thai Green Curry – spicy curry paste with coconut milk and herb blend.
  • Green peppercorn and mushroom risotto – a vegetarian main or side dish.

Tip: Before using brined green peppercorns, rinse them in water to remove any extra salt or vinegar.

In A Nutshell

Green peppercorns are unripe berries. So, they don’t turn red or black. South Asian and French cuisines often use them. The flavor is milder and fresher than regular dry peppercorns.

You can pickle them, put them in marinades and sauces, or crush them and sprinkle on salads. Don’t forget to try them next time you see a recipe using green peppercorns.

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