Pepper corns

A recent thread about, “what spices do you have on your counter?”, caused me to look at my pepper grinder. I’m reasonably sure the contents postdate the Eisenhower administration :slight_smile: but the output appears to be dust - some smell but no oily texture.

What to do with old pepper corns is the first question? Grind them up - are they an insecticide? Just toss? Throw the remains in a very large recipe?

How often to get new pepper corns? Change when you do the smoke detectors? Good sources?

What other spices should get regularly changed out?

We have several grinders; one with plain black pepper, one with fancy (pink) peppercorns, one with red pepper flakes, and one with salt. Maybe we use more pepper than average, but we go through it fast enough to keep it from going stale.

I use lots of peppercorns, especially when I am making broth from scratch. Soups, stews, curries, lots of things! I brought pink peppercorns home from Vietnam when I visited, also yummy!

The idea of what to do with old peppercorns has never been an issue for me. Compost, or just toss. I think peppercorns are one of the few spices I have to replenish on a regular basis because I run out. (That and cinnamon, because we love our homemade cinnamon rolls here.)

Fresh ground pepper goes on just about everything, from eggs at breakfast to a steak at dinner. The bottle of ground black pepper somewhere in the back of the spice drawer is probably dust now. That stuff is nasty.

Semi-related FYI, since pink peppercorns were brought up a few times: they are actually a member of the cashew family, so be careful you don’t give an unsuspecting tree nut allergic friend or family member anaphylaxis.

From the label of my red peppercorns; (which I purchased from the farm they were grown on!)

“Red peppercorns are green peppercorns that have been left on the vine for three to four months longer. They retain their colour when dried, and are the sweetest because they take longer to mature.”

So NOT related to cashews, (got a cite for that?), I’m thinking.

Pink peppercorns are not red peppercorns.

“Pink peppercorns are the dried berries of the shrub Schinus molle, also known as the Peruvian peppertree. Pink peppercorns are not actually related to black peppercorns, but get their name from the similarities in look and their peppery flavor. Pink peppercorns are light and delicate. They crush very easily and are almost hollow. Pink peppercorns are from the genus Piper which is related to the cashew family. For this reason, you should use caution when using Pink peppercorns around any person who has an allergy to nuts.”

I was going to mention this myself. But there is an error in your cite: Pink peppercorns are from the genus Schinus, not Piper. It’s initially given correctly as Schinus molle, but then the penultimate sentence of your site says “from the genus Piper,” incorrectly. It’s, of course, from the genus Schinus. Pink peppercorns are from the same family as cashews (Anacardiaceae).

There are three commonly available versions of peppercorns: black, white, and green. Sometimes, as in elbows’s case, you might find red peppercorns, but usually when you see a red peppercorn, as in a “four peppercorn” blend, it’s the above pink peppercorn. I’ve actually never seen what elbows describes around here, but the description on the packaging makes it clear that they are, in fact, ripened green peppercorns. Typically I see dry black and white peppercorns, and green peppercorns brined, but also sometimes dried. These are all various preparations of the same fruit.

If you’ve ever tasted pink peppercorns straight, you can tell that their flavor is quite different from Piper genus peppercorns. They have much more of a berry-like fruitiness to them and not the same kind of “bite” on the tongue.

Another unrelated peppercorn is the “Sichuan peppercorn.” Also, but much more rarely encountered, the “Tasmanian peppercorn” (although that is usually marketed as “Tasmanian pepper berry” or just “Tasmanian pepper.”)

Consider making peposo to use up the old pepper. I had some recently with handfuls of whole corns tossed in but the long braise left them soft like capers and with most of the pepper flavor distributed into the sauce. It was really good.

I use tellicherry pepper from The Spice House. Wonderful flavor and fragrance.

I have somehow never heard of this dish. This sounds like one after my heart, as I love black pepper. My usually black pepper dishes are a beef and black pepper stir-fry (beef, garlic, oyster sauce, lots of black pepper, and butter. Yes, butter. From the defunct Double Li restaurant. <-link to video of the chef making it) and cacio e pepe. I need to add this to the repertoire stat.

Thanks folks. My pepper education is growing.

Our mill is filled with a mix of Malabar and Indian Special Extra Bold. We use enough that I’ve never had any go stale.

I only learned of it a month ago. The guy that made it is a really good cook and prepared about ten portions at a get-together. His meals are always great but everyone agreed that this one was exceptional. He served it over tiny boiled potatoes.

Alright, I ground up what was left in the food processor and it’s in the giant chilli pot. 22 gals and me for dinner tonight. Wife’s bible study group combined with another group whose leader is having their house termite treated.

Got some fresher pepper corns and will use up faster.

I have to say thanks for bringing my attention to this stew. I made it a couple days ago, but only finally had a chance to sit down and eat it for lunch today (minus a few bites the other day), as my family are a couple of <4 year old kids who are not black pepper lovers (nor is my wife.) Served it over some grits (I apparently have no corn meal in the house for polenta) and it was fantastic.

I just used the simplest recipe I could find: Thickly cubed stewing/braising beef (short ribs), most of a bottle of merlot, 6 garlic cloves, smashed, 1 tablespoon of coarsely ground peppercorns per pound of beef (I put it in my coffee grinder dedicated to spices, so it ended up a gradation of grind levels from powder to whole peppercorns), and salt to taste. Just throw all in the pot (no browning), bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer gently about 3 hours or so. At first, I was a little skeptical, but as the meat started cooking and releasing its flavors into the wine, and as the wine started to mellow from all the cooking and the peppercorns infused it, it was transformed into something truly delicious and effortless. I mean, if you love the taste of black pepper (as I do.) Definitely a keeper and one of the easiest recipes ever. (There are versions that add tomatoes, carrots, celery, onion, stock, etc., to it, but I decided to go with the most traditional one, and I see no need to add anything else to it.)

on my first read-through I thought you were abbreviating “22 gallons.” Seemed like a lot for one person.

Yes, ladies. I eat and retreat. Too much estrogen.:smiley: