This article is also available in: Italian
Pepper nigrum is the most popular seasoning in the world. Different types of pepper come from its berries, determined by when they are harvested.
Black pepper comes from the berries of a climbing vine. Berries are picked while still unripe, when they are just about to turn from green to red: the more ripe berries are, the more flavoured their peppercorns become.
The harvested berries are firstly washed, then dried for about ten days. This procedure makes them dry out and oxidize so as to get their peculiar dark colour.
With a spicy and strong taste, black pepper marries perfectly meat, soups and vegetables.
Black and green peppercorns come from the same vine but green peppercorns are picked before they begin to ripen. If picked at this stage, they retain their green colour.
After the harvest, they can be dried or steeped in brine. If pickled in brine, the taste will be softer while the aroma will get richer. Characterized by a strong flavour, even though not persistent, green pepper is mostly used in the preparation of spicy sauces.
White pepper, as well as black pepper, comes from the flowering vine called Piper nigrum. White peppercorns are harvested when fully ripened and soaked in water for weeks, until the outer red skin is removed. Later, they are dried. White peppercorns have a less strong taste than black or green peppercorns.
Pink peppercorns come from a shrub native to South America. With a thin skin and a fluffy consistency, berries release their aroma only if pressed. Pink peppercorns have a sweet and slightly spicy aroma, that makes them suitable for the preparation of light sauces.