From The Pantry side of my business I want to stock your pantry with the purest products available; free from chemicals, low in food miles and direct from farmers and makers, wherever possible. This is how I choose to eat and I cannot sell anything that compromises this philosophy. Since most spices, even today, are grown in their native country of origin, without any fertilisers or other chemicals, I research them carefully and only sell the best quality, freshest spices I can source.
One day at the Cygnet Market a young Frenchman came up to me and asked if, amongst all the beautiful, fresh spices I had displayed on the stall, were there any green peppercorns.
I replied that I did not have them as I only had dried spices, (not the little tins of pickled, fresh, green peppercorns I was familiar with).
He assured me that in France people make a beautiful sauce with ground, dried green peppercorns….. of course I asked him for the recipe and told him I would have the dried green peppercorns he requested, at the next market, if I could find them.
Well, find them I did and make the sauce I did. Typically simple yet unique and delicious, as French foods often are, I have written out the young Frenchman’s recipe below and hope you will try it. He recommended we have it with a grilled piece of meat so I used local chops (killed and hung for 2 weeks at the Cradoc Abattoir).
Peppercorns, and the ground pepper derived from them, may be described simply as pepper, or more precisely as black pepper (cooked and dried unripe fruit), green pepper (dried unripe fruit) and white pepper (dried ripe seeds). Black pepper is native to south India, and is extensively cultivated there and elsewhere in tropical regions.
Green Peppercorns: Green Peppercorns are the unripe berries of a tropical vine, Piper Nigrum. The same berries are processed to make black pepper. Green peppercorns have a milder but more complex and fresh flavor than most other peppercorns, and are commonly found preserved in brine or pickled. Pickled green peppercorns can be sliced or chopped, or eaten whole (pickled). You might not try that with black pepper, but the green peppercorns have a much suppressed pepper flavor. In their various formats green peppercorns are popular in French, Thai, and Western European cuisines. Because they are perishable, green peppercorns are usually freeze dried, or preserved in brine or pickled. I only sell them dried.
Green peppercorns, in addition to being a culinary treat, have numerous health benefits. They are good for the digestive tract, reducing gas while increasing hydrochloric acid in the stomach which aid with digestion and helps reduce several types of stomach distress. They also help fight bacterial growth in the intestines. In addition, green peppercorns are high in iron, vitamin K, and antioxidants. The skin of the peppercorn is helpful in breaking down fat cells, so eating green peppercorns can even help you lose weight. A chemical found in pepper, piperine, may have some use in helping other chemicals work in the body, and it may have anti-cancer properties as well. In all, green peppercorns are a healthy and tasty condiment, and well deserving of their place on every table.
Green Peppercorn Facts:
Green Peppercorns are the unripe berries of a tropical vine
Green Peppercorns have a mild, fresh flavor
Green Peppercorns are not as spicy as black
Available freeze dried, pickled, or in brine
(Some info above sourced from http://www.green-peppercorns.com/ and from wikipedia)
French Green Peppercorn Sauce
(recipe from Romain, a local French customer)
Serves 6 (if the cook can resist sampling too much!)
125g Four Leaf 85% flour
Make a roux : Dissolve the butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the flour.
Stir until the mixture forms a smooth paste which leaves the sides and base of pan cleanly.
Cook for a minimum of 2 minutes, stirring, to cook out the taste of the flour.
Gradually add 5ooml good stock (I used the bones from the meat from the abattoir to make a stock) until the sauce is thick and smooth.
Reduce the heat and stir in :
1 heaped tsp freshly and finely ground green peppercorns
1/2 tsp salt (to taste and depending on the salt in your stock)
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar (a dash more, to taste, if you like)
Serve as a sauce with meat / or drizzle over roasted, steamed or mashed potatoes
Get these and other fabulous fresh spices from the Cygnet Market or home shop of the Garden Shed and Pantry