Green Pepper

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Green Peppercorns have a dark olive green colour and a wrinkled appearance similar to black peppercorns but full of a fresher peppery flavour and a milder heat. Green peppercorns have a light aroma and a young, fresh pungency with plenty of bite that is not as sharp as white pepper. Freeze-dried or tinned ones in brine have more flavour than the air-dried one; they have the freshness but without the depth of flavour.

For green peppercorns, pepper berries are picked when they have grown to full size but have not yet started to ripen. They are then immediately processed to prevent the natural enzymatic reactions that would turn the green berry dark. To achieve this, they are either immersed and pickled in brine, or plunged into boiling water for 15 minutes to denature the enzymes and fix the colour, after which they are dried in the sun, shrivelling up like a black peppercorn. Alternatively, they can be freeze dried to retain their bright green colour and their rounded shape.

Green peppercorns are more vivacious in character than the robust and oily flavour of black peppercorns. The flavour of green pepper works well in white sauces for poultry and red meats, and the richness of duck, goose. Green pepper is a good flavour for pâtés and terrines. Classic uses of green peppercorns are Steak in a Green Pepper Sauce or a Thai Green Curry.

Green pepper combines well with sweeter spices like cinnamon, ginger and fennel and with fish like salmon and trout and seafood, such as crab and lobster.

Further reading

  • Hemphill, I., Hemphill, K. (2014) The Spice and Herb Bible, Robert Rose. ISBN: 9780778804932.
  • McFadden, C. (2007) Pepper: the spice that changed the world, Absolute Press. ISBN: 9781904573609.
  • Norman, J. (2015) Herbs & Spices: The Cook's Reference, DK Publishing. ISBN: 9781465435989.