Black pepper is amongst the most important, most popular and most widely used spices in the world. Depending on harvest time and processing, peppercorns can be black, white, green and pink/red. Black pepper is the dried, unripe berry. Black pepper is obtained from the fruits of Piper nigrum L, a perennial, woody evergreen climber that is native to the evergreen forests of the Western Ghats of South India.
Black pepper is used by virtually every culture on earth and lends itself to both savoury and sweet dishes. Cracked or ground pepper is used on the table along with salt and is often used to 'season' a dish. Dishes and products that we are familiar with that use black pepper as the main flavouring ingredient include pepper sauce, pepper steak, peppered salami and peppered prawns. Less familiar dishes that are spiced with pepper include peppered strawberries, Cajun blackened fish and drinks such as Bloody Mary's and some teas. Black pepper marries particularly well with beef.