Cracked Black Pepper 1 lb
Black peppercorn, which is picked when the berry is not quite ripe, then dried until it shrivels and the skin turns dark brown to black, is the strongest flavored of the peppercorns - slightly hot with a hint of sweetness. Most cooks today don't appreciate the plentiful and inexpensive supply of a spice that was once so valuable and rare it was sometimes used as currency. Its merit was so high that many of the European sailing expeditions during the 15th century were undertaken with the main purpose of finding alternate trade routes to the Far East, the primary source of the prized peppercorn and other spices. Pepper in one form or other is used around the world to enhance the flavor of both savory and sweet dishes. Because it stimulates gastric juices, it delivers a digestive bonus as well. The world's most popular spice is a berry that grows in grape like clusters on the pepper plant (Piper nigrum), a climbing vine native to India and Indonesia.