A pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper are an essential part of many recipes.
Pepper can be black, white, red. But when to reach for the green one?
Did you know that in addition to the obligatory sauce, it is also suitable for minutes, pâtés, spreads or vegetables?
How does its processing differ from other types of pepper?
Let’s take a closer look at this spice.
What is green pepper?
Green pepper is simply pepper in its purest form. These are young unripe berries of the black pepper tree (Piper nigrum). Since they are essentially fresh fruit, green pepper balls have a very short shelf life. After harvesting, they are treated with sulfur dioxide or freeze-dried to retain their green color.
They can also be preserved and pickled. Fresh, unpreserved green peppercorns are used in some Asian cuisines, especially Thai cuisine. The aroma and taste of green pepper is fresher and milder than in the case of classic black pepper. Various sauces are often prepared from it, it is also suitable for fish, poultry, pork and seafood.
Color variants of pepper
The word “pepper” refers to dozens of different spices, some of which have almost nothing in common with actual pepper. There are “only” four basic types of pepper that come from the black pepper tree, which differ in that they are harvested at different stages of maturity and subsequently go through a different processing process.
- Green pepper – unripe berries of the black pepper tree.
- Black pepper – clearly the best-known and most used colored variant of pepper, which, surprisingly for many, comes from green pepper berries. Freshly harvested green peppercorns turn black only after they are dried. It has the most intense flavor and goes well with almost all dishes.
- White pepper – even the balls of white pepper originally had a completely different color. Ripe berries are left to soak in water long enough to soften the skin, or they are fermented. Subsequently, the thin skin is removed from the balls and the ash-white core is revealed. White pepper has a delicious taste that combines sharpness with a floral to fruity touch. It is often used in the preparation of vegetables or béchamel sauce.
- Red pepper – ripe berries of the black pepper tree.
All other types of pepper, such as pink, Szechuan or cayenne, do not come from the black pepper plant, but from other plants.
What does green pepper taste like?
Green pepper balls lack the strong sharpness of black balls. Unlike black pepper, whose heat is immediately felt in the mouth, the taste of green pepper develops slowly. It takes 5 to 10 seconds to really feel it. Green pepper offers a similar spiciness to black pepper while adding a subtle fruity vitality to dishes.
What to use green pepper?
You can use this spice to prepare a variety of dishes, most often sauces, and also to season meat, fish and seafood. It is most commonly used in Vietnamese, Thai and French cuisine.
- The classic is above all the delicious sauce with green pepper. How to make the best pepper sauce? Add a small amount of brandy to it. Then use it, for example, to pour over pork tenderloin or chicken breast.
- Green pepper is also often used in pickling. Try it in pickled ermine recipes .
- In addition to cheese, you can of course also use it to prepare a variety of pickled vegetables .
- When preparing steaks, you can add green pepper balls to various meat marinades .
- Making your own pickled pepper is very simple, put green pepper balls together with garlic, fresh herbs and salt in olive oil. Then use the pepper loaded in this way, for example, under meat.
- Green pepper is an excellent seasoning for any seafood, try it in crawfish recipes .
- Another use of this pepper is also in the production of homemade pate .
- Last but not least, green pepper can be used in recipes for fish spread . It pairs well with, for example, smoked mackerel or tuna.
Store dried green pepper in a closed airtight container in a dry, dark place away from light. Before use, you can easily grind the pepper balls using a hand grinder.
Why include green pepper in the diet?
Green pepper contains a number of valuable substances and nutrients that our organism needs for proper functioning. One of the important substances is the alkaloid piperine, which is responsible for the pungent taste of pepper, thanks to which this spice also generally circulates blood and stimulates our organism. What health effects is green pepper associated with?
- Digestive tract health – consumption of green pepper helps the secretion of gastric juices, thereby increasing the speed of digestion. In addition, it aids in the excretion of hydrochloric acid, thus helping to reduce flatulence. The antimicrobial nature of hydrochloric acid helps to destroy bacteria present in food before they reach the intestinal tract, thus preventing intestinal diseases.
- Antibacterial, Antiviral and Antifungal Properties – Laboratory studies confirm that peppermint essential oil has significant antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties that inhibit the growth of the microbes that cause tooth decay as well as the major human pathogen, Staphylococcus aureus.
- High in Antioxidants – Green peppercorns are rich in vitamins C and K, which are powerful antioxidants and can help reduce the concentration of free radicals and reduce the risks associated with free radical damage.
- High content of plant compounds – although black pepper has the highest content of piperine, it does not win in terms of essential oil content. Black pepper contains 2-5% essential oils, white pepper only 1-3%. The highest percentage was found in green pepper.
- It is less irritating to the nasal cavities – many people sneeze or have a runny nose when they eat pepper. These problems arise mainly in connection with freshly ground spices, when the fine dust in the air irritates the mucous membranes. Green pepper offers two advantages. It is often eaten whole, so there is no microscopic grinding dust in the air, and it also contains less of the major irritant piperine.
- A good source of vitamin C – ground black pepper does not contain any vitamin C, but 100 grams of green pepper has an incredible 1217.2 mg of vitamin C. This is 20 times the recommended daily allowance of 60 mg. Even if you only ate a teaspoon of it, i.e. about 4 grams, it still means 48.7 mg of vitamin C, which is 81% of the daily value.
- A good source of fiber – fiber is one of the most important macronutrients needed for healthy digestion. Although all colors of pepper are high in fiber, you will eat too little black pepper to meet your daily requirement. Two tablespoons or about 15 grams of green pepper contains about 2 grams of fiber, which is 8% of the recommended daily allowance.
Growing green pepper
In nature, climbing black pepper (Piper nigrum) naturally wraps itself around trees as a vine, in commercial cultivation it is manually wrapped around strong stakes, usually 3-4 meters high. Small grape-like flowers produce rows of tiny berries. As soon as the first berry on the bunch changes color from green to red, the whole bunch is plucked. The result is green pepper, which can then be further processed into black pepper.
Peppercorn grapes can contain berries of varying sizes, with those at the top usually larger than those at the bottom. After drying, the pepper balls are therefore sifted through sieves to separate them into different size classes. The bigger the balls, the better and stronger their taste. The largest producers of green pepper are currently Vietnam, India and Indonesia.