Black Peppercorns.. So Much Flavor!
I’ve always been one of Black Pepper’s biggest fans. This glorious spice, often taken for granted, can take the ordinary into the spectacular. If you don’t believe me, just ask mashed potatoes.
I guess that’s why I talk about pepper so much – to make sure it isn’t overlooked or slighted in the least. There’ll be no taking pepper for granted on my watch!
When I first fell madly in love with cooking, the little red and white tin of pre-ground pepper was my mainstay. In fact, we had a thing going for years. I’d buy big tins of ground pepper and fill my salt and pepper shakers for daily use and whip out my red and white tin for cooking.
Then, one fateful day, my culinary world opened up. While in the grocery store, browsing a favorite aisle (the spice aisle – where I could spend hours), I saw peppercorns and peppercorn grinders. I noticed that, like people, peppercorns came in a beautiful array of colors – black, pink, white, and even green.
I rounded up every peppercorn and grinder in sight and headed home to play with my new toys. It’s a process I’ve repeated hundreds of times since.
Using different peppercorns for different dishes really adds exciting and fun layers of flavor.
A quick rundown of the different peppercorn flavors:
Green peppercorns have a sharp, fresh flavor. Some of the best dishes to use green peppercorns with are vegetable dishes and salad dressings. A good way to remember this is to think of the green… green peppercorns = eating green = vegetables.
Pink peppercorns may have the most distinctive and unique flavor of all the peppercorns. These little beauties have a delicate, fragrant flavor that’s somehow both sweet and spicy at the same time. I love the color pink peppercorns bring, literally, to the table. While they go with everything imaginable, most people prefer them with sweet foods and fruit. They’re all kinds of delicious on cantaloupe and watermelon.
White peppercorns are mostly used when a cook doesn’t want any black specks whatsoever in their dish. Me? I live for the black specks, but I can see wanting a special cheese sauce or cream to be solid and universal in color. White peppercorns give a taste that’s very similar to black peppercorns.
And last, but in NO way least, the star of the peppercorns world, Black Peppercorns. Black peppercorns can be used with absolutely anything you dream up in your kitchen. Eggs, potatoes, meats, vegetables, fish, etc.
Black pepper begins to lose some of its flavor as soon as it’s ground, which is why using peppercorns with your own grinder is preferable for cooking and eating.
Tellicherry Peppercorns are rock stars in the peppercorn world. These black peppercorns are left on the vine longer and allowed to over-ripen. They are bigger in both size and flavor.
I first sought out Tellicherry Black Peppercorns when I read that they were one of Colonel Sanders’ secret ingredients in his fried chicken. I figured that if they were the Colonel’s “go to” peppercorn, I had to try them out. I’ve bought them religiously since.
In addition to a grinder filled with only black peppercorns, I always have a grinder filled with a combination of all colors of peppercorns. This colorful blend is excellent for stews, soups, eggs, and countless other kitchen regulars.
Rachael Ray Fancy Boy Peppercorn Grinders
Unfortunately, they can be tough to find in stores (although her Pink Himalayan Salt Fancy Boy Grinder is pretty easy to find). Fancy Boy Grinders can be found on Amazon easily enough (just click the link to check them out).
Rachael Ray’s Fancy Boy Peppercorn Grinders:
Shopping for Peppercorns
Your grocery store may or may not have peppercorns available in all of the available peppercorn colors. If they come up short, always keep Amazon in mind. Peppercorns on Amazon are available in bulk, meaning you won’t run out any time soon and you can find unlimited colors and blend combinations, including the Rainbow Peppercorn Blend (both links are Amazon links).
When it comes to peppercorn grinders, my three favorite places to shop are Amazon (See Amazon Peppercorn Grinders), TJ Maxx, and Target. Kitchen supply stores are also a great place to check – but they can be pretty pricey.
Wherever you find your peppercorns and peppercorn grinders, just be sure to mix things up and experiment with different varieties of peppercorns.
You’ll be amazed at all the different flavors they bring to the table!